While many families are thinking about summer ball games, evenings at the pool or vacation, some in the community are struggling to feed their families.

There has been an increase in the number of families seeking help at the Union Food Pantry, said Jan Brennan, volunteer.

“Like always, there is a big increase in the number of families during the summer months,” she said. “It happens every year.”

This year, the school district is offering free breakfasts and lunches to kindergarten through eighth grade students enrolled in its summer school program, and free lunches to any student in the district. The lunches are served at Union Middle School.

But people are still in need.

The pantry is open Mondays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. And while there are typically 20 families that visit per day, one recent day the pantry served more than 30 families with more than 80 people combined in the homes.

“That’s a lot of people to feed at one time when we’re open,” Brennan said.

Donations, Needs

In addition to the number of families and people being helped increasing, donations tend to drop in the summer.

There are fewer food drives overall and no big food drives until November.

The post office food drive is held in May and the Boy Scouts food drive is held in November.

The biggest needs foodwise are kid-friendly cereals. Other needed items include dry pasta, Hamburger Helper or generic box meals, canned fruit, beef stew, chicken and dumplings, chili, Spam, spaghetti sauce, canned pasta, single-serve instant oatmeal, soup, canned fruit, soup broth, dried beans, chili beans and refried beans.

Thanks to organizations taking part in the Franklin County Area United Way peanut butter and jelly drive, the pantry has plenty of the sandwich staples.

Personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner and deodorant also are needed.

“We appreciate anything that is donated,” Brennan noted. “We won’t turn anything down.”

Donations can be dropped off when the pantry is open or people may call the pantry, 636-584-7050, or Brennan, 636-584-1086, for an appointment.