The cupboards are almost bare at Lawrence's charity food pantries because of dwindling summer donations.
"It happens every summer about this time that we run out of food," said Lt. Wes Dalberg, commander of The Salvation Army, 946 N.H. "Summer is always a slow time because people are busy doing other things."
The Salvation Army recently received an emergency shipment of nonperishable food it ordered from Harvesters Food Network.
"We have people who are coming to us and we're not able to help them, so we needed food from Harvesters just to tide us over," Dalberg said.
Other food pantries are facing similar shortages.
"I've got a little bit of green beans, tuna and macaroni and cheese, and that is it," Penn House coordinator Jolee Erskin said.
"We're always in need," said Paul Hunt, human services director at Ballard Community Center, 708 Elm St. "Especially this coming week, because people are getting to the end of their food stamps."
The Pelathe Community Resource Center, 1423 Haskell Ave., also recently received a shipment from Harvesters.
"There are some things we are missing, but we're not completely out," Pelathe program assistant Hubbard Collinsworth said.
How to help
Contact these agencies to make food pantry donations: ¢ Ballard Center, 842-0729 ¢ Pelathe Community Resource Center, 841-7202 ¢ Penn House, 842-0440 ¢ Salvation Army, 843-4188
Requests for food haven't necessarily increased this year. "We're just short of food," Dalberg said.
At the same time, Dalberg thinks some families may be strapped because of high gasoline prices.
"I'm sure many of our clients are facing a lot of struggles with that," he said. "It's almost like you have to take out a loan to fill up your car."
Christmas is usually when Ballard Center receives a lot of donations, Hunt said.
"By then I'm swimming in it," he said. "Then we have a couple of food drives in the spring and fall, but during the summertime, there just isn't anything there."