Loving Hearts Outreach, which operates one of Washington’s largest food pantries, is “in the midst of a crisis,” according to executive director Sandy Crider.
Crider contacted The Missourian Wednesday saying she didn’t think the pantry would have enough food to serve the 50 to 60 families expected to enter the facility Friday.
The Missourian will donate one can of food per new Like on its Facebook page through midnight Friday.
The pantry relies both on donations and on the ability to purchase food at 10 to 12 cents per pound from the St. Louis Food Bank. Donations have been low and the St. Louis Food Bank, which also relies on donations, doesn’t have a stock of food either, Crider said.
The food bank usually can “float” Loving Hearts in times of low donations, but with its stock low that’s not possible.
“We can’t purchase (food) until they get food in,” Crider said.
Loving Hearts also gets about 22,000 pounds of food each month from USDA Farm Bill commodities, but due to cutbacks related to the government shutdown, the pantry only received 3,000 pounds this month.
“A month ago we were in great shape, but there are so many families — I don’t know if we have enough food for one more day,” she said.
The pantry is closed on Thursdays, but volunteers came in to accept donations in hopes of being able to serve families Friday morning.
To make matters worse, the Women, Infant, Children (WIC) office, which helps low income mothers (or expectant mothers) and children with nutrition, also is closed because of the government shutdown.
“It’s crunch time,” Crider said. “We need lots of prayers at this point. We’re very, very concerned.”
Loving Hearts needs all kinds of food, she said, but especially items that can be used to make a meal, such as canned meat, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, gravy, hamburger helper, noodles, crackers, Spaghettios, Rice-a-Roni and food that can easily be heated and eaten.
The center is closed on Saturdays, but Crider said people can drop off donations at the thrift shop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Both the pantry and thrift shop are located at 1902 W. Main St.
Those who can’t drop off during those hours or who have large donations should call Crider to make arrangements at 636-390-8300 or email email@example.com.