Dublin Villager

Food pantry sees increased need

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Even though the national unemployment rate recently fell below 8 percent for the first time since 2009, the Dublin Food Pantry is seeing a growing need for assistance.

The Dublin Food Pantry has seen 30 to 50 new families seeking help each month, said Executive Director Nancy Johnson.

The pantry has seen its largest numbers over the past few years and Johnson said things aren't getting better.

"To date (numbers) have not gone down, but hopefully they will," she said. "We're the only business that wishes they had less customers."

New families seeking aid from the Dublin Food Pantry vary and Johnson said she's seeing older and younger people within the school district that need help.

"There are a couple of things impacting it," Johnson said.

"One is the end of seasonal work so a lot of people that are employed in the landscaping industry in the summer months are now going by the wayside," she said.

"We're seeing some older people. I think the money they had counted on for retirement isn't getting interest and their money is starting to run out. The rest is just unemployment."

Providing food has also been getting difficult as food prices have increased.

"Wholesale food prices are going up because of gas and the drought," Johnson said, adding that price increases has touched all areas.

While demand is increasing, the community has stepped up to help, Johnson said.

The Dublin Foundation recently notified the pantry a grant request will be fulfilled to help provide more meat to families during the winter months, Johnson said.

"We put in a grant with the Dublin Foundation because we are having to limit our quantities of meat," she said, noting the grant will help the "More Servings, Serving More" program.

Individuals within the community are also stepping up to help. According to Johnson, one volunteer has committed to providing toothpaste to the pantry each month. Having toothpaste will free up funds to spend elsewhere, she added.

"For the first time we'll have a food drive at a football game," Johnson said.

"Kiwanis is spearheading it and will have vans there. They're asking not only Coffman, but Upper Arlington people to bring food."

Drama students from across the Dublin City School district will also collect food through Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat Oct. 31, Johnson said.

They'll collect food during trick or treating and take it to the Dublin Food Pantry to be sorted and stocked.

Major needs at the Dublin Food Pantry include peanut butter, jelly, hamburger and tuna helper, tuna and other canned meat, spaghetti, pasta, boxed potatoes and hearty soups.

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