Evanston pantries scramble to keep up with demand

Natasha Dennison has been finding it harder to pay her grocery bills at a time when even a bag of rice sets her back $9.So Dennison and her son paid their first visit to Evanston’s Harvest Food Pantry July 22. They took a number and waited their turn to pick up the week’s offerings.Vineyard Christian Fellowship volunteer Dan Lee shows off the selection of teas to a customer at the Harvest Food Pantry.  Volunteers pause for prayer before the Harvest Food Pantry opens its doors at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church in Evanston.  People line up outside Evanston’s Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church before the Harvest Food Pantry opens its doors for a weekly food distribution. On a recent Wednesday, the pantry served more than 130 visitors, up from 75 per week last year. “Times are hard,” said Dennison. “Everything costs more money. You have to stretch your dollar any way you can.”Dennison had plenty of company. When the doors opened at 6 p.m., people who’d been waiting for an hour or longer made a dash for the table with complimentary coffee cakes and punch, then took a seat until their numbers were called.Like other pantries in the Evanston area, this one — run by Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church, 2495 Howard St. — has been scrambling to keep its cupboards stocked at a time of rising demand.The number of weekly visitors has surged twice in the past year. After holding steady at around 75 to 80 families a week, the number of visitors bounced up late last summer and early fall when the economy went into a tailspin.On two Wednesdays this month, the pantry served 130 and 140 visitors. Each customer is limited to two visits per month.”We have grandparents taking care of grandkids and a lot of Single Moms who, if they are working, are stretching their dollar as far as they can.”The Evanston Food Pantry, run by the Salvation Army at 1403 Sherman Ave., provided groceries to 118 individuals and 27 families in July, up about 70 percent from the same month in 2008. The Salvation Army is open for food distribution from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”People either are losing their jobs, or their hours have been cut back so they are on a tighter budget,” said Jean Sapper, a Salvation Army case worker who handles food distribution.Demand also goes up during school recess. “When the kids are in school through the year, they are getting breakfast and lunch. Now they’re not.”To read from the Evanston Review, click here:http://www.pioneerlocal.com/evanston/news/1689789,evanston-hunger-073009-s1.articleClick here to make a donation to The Salvation Army Hunger Fundraising Campaign

Poor economy strains homeless shelters, food pantries

The economy has pummeled Tippecanoe County families, which has in turn put stress on local shelters and food pantries.The Salvation Army family shelter has had an average increase of 100 residents annually for the last two years, said shelter director Lillie Carty.“Every year we have a lot more on our waiting list,” she said.By contrast, the Lafayette Urban Ministry shelter, which typically serves mentally ill, physically disabled or substance-addicted homeless people, has seen a decrease in traffic from last year, and a drop of about 50 in residents from 2007 to 2008, said shelter director Joyce Fasani.“A lot of people here are disabled and have to wait for social security,” she said. “They sell everything they have and they end up in a homeless shelter with nothing.”Read more at  The Exponent – Purdue’s Student NewspaperClick here to make a donation to The Salvation Army Hunger Fundraising Campaign

Black Women’s Expo Holds Food Drive for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division

Black Women's ExpoThe continuing high unemployment and the weakened economy are taking a heavy toll on many families and individuals in the Greater Chicago area, as elsewhere in the country. At the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division, which serves people in need in the Greater Chicago area, Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana, requests for all types of assistance— especially assistance with groceries—have skyrocketed.The Black Women’s Expo, to be held July 30-August 1 at McCormick Place West, is helping The Salvation Army stock its food pantries with non-perishable food. Attendees will be contributing non-perishable food items – such as peanut butter, canned goods, and cereal – to the Army to help feed the hungry people in Chicago and the suburbs. For their good deeds, attendees will receive a discount on the cost of their admission to the Expo.

Are you a member of TSA Metro Division on Facebook Groups?

Well if you are a member, on August 7th, the Metropolitan Division will be closing its Facebook Group.  Don’t worry, you can continue to get news, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming event information by becoming a fan on the division’s official Facebook Page.While you’re there, show your support for The Salvation Army by sharing your stories and photos with other fans.Spread the word to your friends and ask them to become a fan too.Click the link below to Become a Fan on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-IL/The-Salvation-Army-Chicago-Metropolitan-Division/53715288452