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Archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Food pantries discuss improving services

June 13, 2007

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With as many as 2,000 people using Lawrence food pantries each month, representatives from several churches and charities are looking at ways to improve services.

"A wonderful long-term goal would be creation of a food bank, which would provide for a central warehousing of food supplies, services to families in need, opportunity for great community participation and solving the problem of hunger," according to Ann Weick, a retired dean of the Kansas University School of Social Welfare.

Weick was among about 20 people who attended Tuesday's meeting of the Lawrence Community Interfaith Initiative. Representatives attended from groups including The Salvation Army, Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry, Ballard Community Center and Penn House, the Leo Center, ECKAN, First Baptist Church and River City Church.

"It is evident of the high level of commitment about the issue of hunger in our community," said Lew Hinshaw, a former Plymouth Congregational Church associate pastor.

While most of the meeting focused on the possibility of consolidating some efforts, a new group - Just Food - already works that way, at least on a smaller scale.

Weick works with Just Food, which includes ECKAN, Pelathe Community Resource Center, Salvation Army and Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry and area churches. The groups work to share food supplies.

"If we worked together on increasing supplies, we would all win and so would the people that need the food," Weick said.

She also suggested an ideal long-term goal is for local pantries to coordinate supplies and donations at a central location while still operating a variety of distribution points, which would serve people who don't own vehicles, Weick said.

Discussions will continue next month.

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