Archive for Monday, July 25, 2011

Food pantries report increase in demand

Still, groups say local support strong

Jeremy Farmer, executive director of Just Food, talks about the increasing number of people coming to the food bank. Farmer said that the agency is seeing many more "first-time" users of the pantry. To donate to Just Food's virtual food bank, visit

July 25, 2011


11-month-old Savannah Bennett, hangs on to her mother, Carrie Bennett, as she waits in line for an application at Just Food Tuesday, July 19, 2011.

11-month-old Savannah Bennett, hangs on to her mother, Carrie Bennett, as she waits in line for an application at Just Food Tuesday, July 19, 2011.

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

• Just Food accepts online donations at

Related document

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.


Alceste 6 years, 11 months ago

Stretch that food dollar or SNAP (foodstamp) benefit by participating with

It takes only a small amount of planning to reap the benefits of this great service. While it does not have a "formal" Lawrence presence, it does have a Baldwin City distribution and if you coordinate with the people running the thing....they WILL and DO make monthly delievery to Lawrence.

Don't say you didn't know about the service or it's too much work.

The food this group is involved with is not federal commodity style offerings. It's GOOD STUFF. Stretch the dollar.

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