Madison County food pantry sees need for donations heading into summer

KBTX News 3 at Six(Recurring)
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:04 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, Texas (KBTX) -Countless families and individuals across the Brazos Valley face hunger year-round. Just in time for summer, one Madison County food pantry has seen over 40 new families just in the month of May.

The Son-Shine Outreach Center in Madisonville is a place focused on helping others. But, that goal has been harder than ever, according to one food pantry volunteer.

“We see a huge need,” said Linda Clark. “I really have empathy for those who don’t for whatever reason don’t have the means to get food.”

Clark sees firsthand how food insecurity is only getting worse as we head into summer.

“With school getting out, and the economic times. I mean groceries are so expensive,” said Clark. “Yesterday, we served 27 families. That is a near-record amount in a day. People are struggling.”

In the summer months, households with children have higher rates of food insecurity because more people are home and fewer resources are available.

It’s a problem many food pantries across the Brazos Valley are going through.

”A lot of the basic products we get are just not there,” said Clark. “When they do get in we order in a sort of bulk. We have to order more or we’re gonna have to wait. For example, we got fresh vegetables on a Monday and on Thursday they’re gone.”

Lisa Wamsley, Coordinator for the Son-Shine Outreach Center, told KBTX they’ve seen over 40 new families in need of food just this month.

“When you’ve got three or four kids and they’re gonna be home all day, you know what kids do. They’re gonna eat,” said Wamsley. “I mean we’re seeing almost a 30 % increase anyway. So far, this month, we’ve seen over 38 new families.”

The only way to successfully keep bellies full is to order from an abundance of suppliers.

“We order from Brazos Valley Food Bank every two weeks,” said Wamsley. And, then other places every day. We look everywhere. Since COVID-19, we haven’t been able to order large quantities. For example, we order from Target. They deliver for free. We reach out to our member churches and our board. If people brought one, five dollar item to the local food pantry, all this could change.”

Because you never know how much one family may be struggling, according to Wamsley.

“It could be your neighbor. It could be the person you sit next to at church,” said Wamsley. “They don’t have a particular look, they don’t dress a certain way. When we talk about food insufficiency and the need, the need is there. You just may not see it.”

For ways to donate to the Son-Shine Outreach Center, click here.

KBTX is teaming up with the Brazos Valley Food Bank to fight summer hunger in our 4th annual ‘Summer Hunger Food Drive’. For ways to donate to the month-long event, click here.