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Just Food prepares 916 Christmas food baskets; demand up by more than 20 percent from last year

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And you thought your kitchen was busy this holiday season.

I chatted recently with Jeremy Farmer, executive director of Lawrence’s Just Food food bank, and he told me his organization has been busy putting together 916 Christmas baskets for households that were struggling to put a Christmas meal on the table.

The fact that there is an organization that can put together such a charitable effort is heart-warming, but what is disheartening is that the number of people in need of the service has grown significantly.

Farmer said Just Food did 750 baskets last year, so demand is up by about 22 percent. Farmer said the holiday numbers are indicative of the demand the food bank has been seeing all year.

“We definitely don’t see the higher numbers as a success point,” Farmer said. “It is a reminder that as a community, we have failed to solve this problem.”

Look for some significant changes in food bank operations in 2013. We’ll have more on it later, but the United Way program that encourages social services providers to better collaborate is moving into Lawrence’s food pantry system. Farmer said Just Food, which operates a warehouse of food supplies near 11th and Haskell, will begin operating satellite food pantries at several locations, including the Ballard Center and Penn House. In the past, there have been food pantries at those locations, but they have been run independently. Now, it sounds like most of the food pantries in town will come under the management of Just Food.

As I said, we’ll get more details on that in the future.

As far as the Christmas baskets go, the deadline to sign up and qualify for those has already passed. Just Food workers are distributing the baskets through Saturday. The baskets include vegetables, fruit, bread, meat, cranberry sauce, dessert and, of course, gravy.

Ah, gravy. Soon, I will be swimming in it. That’s my way of saying that Town Talk will take a few days off to celebrate the holidays. (And by celebrate, I mean dipping innumerable, edible items in gravy.) Look for the gravy-stained column to return after the New Year.

I sure hope you all have a safe and very happy holiday season.

Comments

justfoodks 1 year, 3 months ago

mommatocharlie: send me an email and i'll make sure you get food!

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Kyle Roggenkamp 1 year, 3 months ago

Ballard Community Services, along with Penn House, is excited to partner with Just Food in 2013 in efforts to move the needle forward on food security in Douglas County. Through our collaborative efforts, clients of each agency will have greater access to the necessary resources that help stabilize times of crises. Together, we hope to become more efficient at appropriately serving the clients we share.

Love ya Lawrence,

Kyle Roggenkamp- Director of Human Services- Ballard Community Services & Penn House

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Jean Robart 1 year, 3 months ago

I was fortunate to receive a Christmas package last year, and was waiting to hear whether i could get one this year. A friend showed me a card she received in the mail informing her she would receive a basket. I never even heard when they were taking applications for the food baskets, and i could certainly have used one.

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justfoodks 1 year, 3 months ago

We will roll out more information as we get closer to the first of the year, as Chad said. As of January 1, we have some exciting changes coming with Just Food, Ballard, Penn House & Salvation Army working together to feed folks. Just Food isn't going to "manage" any pantries, but provide them with more resources to better serve their clients. We will also be sharing a database in order to get a better idea of the communities need. I am excited these agencies are around the same table working together to fight hunger and its root causes in Douglas County.

More information coming -- can't wait to share more with our community. All of us think you'll be pleased, and as excited as we are!

Sincerely, Jeremy Farmer Chief Executive Officer Just Food

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