Lawrence food pantries
• Just Food pantry, 1200 E. 11th St., 856-7030.
• The Ballard Center, 708 Elm St., 842-0729.
• Penn House, 1035 Pa., 842-0440.
• Mobile Food Pantry: Area residents can receive food at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Ways to help
• Penn House and the Ballard Center are in need of cereal, canned fruit, soup, beans and mac and cheese. You can also donate money online at ballardcenter.org.
• Just Food accepts online donations at justfoodfund.org.
Other area food pantries ( .DOCX )
Carrie Bennett stopped by the Just Food pantry at 1200 E. 11th St. for the first time Tuesday with her two children, ages 2 and 11 months.
Bennett, of Lawrence, heard about the pantry through a friend, and needed a little extra help this month with food for her family.
But it was difficult to make the visit.
“It was a little embarrassing,” Bennett said.
Bennett is among the increasing number of area residents making that first trip to Just Food, said Jeremy Farmer, executive director.
“We get phone calls all the time where people say ‘I’ve never had to do this before but I just lost my job ... and I don’t have food,’” Farmer said.
The number of people the pantry has served this month has nearly doubled since February, from about 1,200 to more than 2,000 served in June. On a given day, the pantry sees five to 10 new clients, Farmer said.
The Ballard Center, 708 Elm St., which also operates a food pantry, likewise reported an increase in need. In the first six months of 2010 the agency provided food to about 2,400 people, compared with more than 3,000 this year, said Paul Youk, program director of Penn House, a satellite office of the Ballard Center.
Both Youk and Farmer attribute the increased need to high unemployment and a poor economy. Despite the increase, both agencies have been receiving enough community support to meet the need, they say. Farmer talked about how people have stepped up — everyone from small farmers to Kansas University groups sponsoring food drives.
“It just makes us more thankful that the Lawrence community and the Douglas County community see the importance of what we do,” Farmer said.