Representatives of social service agencies gathered at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lawrence on Tuesday to network and discuss strategies for meeting the needs of the area’s hungry.
Representatives from agencies such as ECKAN, the Roger Hill Volunteer Center and the Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry participated in the third annual Douglas County Food Services Providers Gathering.
With numerous community agencies operating food pantries across the city and the county, it’s important for agencies to communicate about what services and programs each is providing, said meeting organizer Steve Ozark, from the Lawrence Community Interfaith Initiative.
The meeting was also a chance to help brainstorm about needs that are not being met, said Jeanette Collier, executive director of the Douglas County ECKAN branch.
“Some things are working, but we know there are some gaps,” Collier said.
Ideas discussed at the meeting included potential programs such as a low-income food cooperative and food planning and cooking classes, as well as more efficient holiday food basket delivery.
Collier said that making better use of the area’s resources was necessary in tough economic times, as agencies see many new clients.
“We’re seeing more and more families who have not had to access (social) services before,” she said.
Organizers said they hoped the meeting would lead to continued partnering between agencies.