Local support vital to food bank success

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 5 2014 | 12:01 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:10 am in
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By Becci Reedus

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Pending proposed cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, would have been called “modest,” but any cut means that more families right here in Johnson County will experience greater hunger.

We at the Crisis Center of Johnson County experienced more food bank visits last July than at any other time in the center’s history. In October, we exceeded July’s numbers with a record 4,459 household visits. There were more Project Holiday participants in December than ever before. Six months into this fiscal year, we are on pace to serve 12 percent more individuals than last year.

Unfortunately, breaking records isn’t good news for us.

The Crisis Center has strong community support, but we and our clients face uncertainty in 2014. Many of our clients work, but low wages often aren’t enough to support a family and any unexpected expense can cause a crisis. An estimated 18,400 Johnson County residents are food insecure and while the food bank is serving almost 12,000 people annually, we know there are unmet needs in the community.

Uncertainty from state and federal lawmakers makes support from the local community even more vital. These are a few ways to help and you can find out more about each of them online at jccrisiscenter.org:

There’s never a bad time to host a food drive. Every item you donate to the Crisis Center helps a family in need here in Johnson County. Each person in your workplace, church or classroom contributing just a few items can make a significant impact. February is a particularly good time to put together a food drive as the Crisis Center marks our annual “Spread the Love” peanut butter and jelly campaign throughout the month.

Financial donations often can go even further. The Crisis Center is often able to purchase food at a much lower price than at the grocery store, meaning your dollar can have an even bigger impact.

And almost as importantly, we need you to be vocal about your support for the Crisis Center and the growing needs of the community. At church, at work, at local government meetings, and even on Facebook, make sure our community knows this is a time of need for many.

Becci Reedus is executive director of the Crisis Center of Johnson County. Comments: becci.reedus@jccrisiscenter.org

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