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‘Empty cupboards:’ Donations needed at Mission Food Pantry

Since April of this year, more than 15,800 items from the Mission Food Pantry have been given out to 1,551 different families in the city.

That’s according to a report by Mission Food Pantry Manager Adela Ortega. Ortega, who helped found the pantry 30 years ago, says the center is in “dire” need of donations if it wants to keep up with the demand for assistance by the needy in the area.

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“In the past, we were only open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until noon and served about 400 families a week,” Ortega said. “Now that we’re open longer, we cannot keep up with more people coming in for food. We have several empty cupboards and do not want people to leave empty-handed.”

The center relies on food donations to distribute amongst needy residents.

According to the report by the Mission Food Pantry, only 9,665 food items have been donated to the pantry since this past April when the center started keeping records of their items. Ortega said she and other members of the pantry usually have to buy groceries to stock up the pantry.

“We’re giving away much more food than we’re receiving, Ortega said. “If everyone in the city donated at least two cans then our shelves would be stocked in time for the holidays.”

The center asks for dried and canned goods such as: dry beans, rice, flour, dry pastas, mixed vegetables, canned beans, canned chili, beef stew, canned tuna, canned meat, peanut butter, dry cereal, oatmeal, evaporated and powdered milk

Donations can be given to the pantry at their new location near Catholic War Veterans Park at 115 S. Mayberry Street during the pantry’s regular business hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pantry is closed for lunch weekdays at noon.

Ortega says only one person per family can receive food. The family requesting food must be in an “emergency” situation which includes being either homeless and unemployed, having too many expensive medical bills to pay, or are waiting to receive food stamps. Food is given out monthly or on an as needed basis. Pantry visitors must have an I.D. and a proof of address to receive food.

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