The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 14, 2012

Working people still seek help

(Continued)

DANVILLE —

“We realized that food is just one need out of a bundle of needs the families bring with them,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Randall Robinson. He added they will even pray with families if they request it.

Johnson said in the past she has used the St. James Food Pantry, the Danville Area Food Pantry and the pantries at a couple churches.

“I liked St. James the best,” Johnson said. “Based on your family size, they allow you to pick (the food you want).” She said having a choice between certain vegetables and cereals was helpful because she and her husband have certain dietary restrictions.

Johnson had to stop going to the St. James pantry, though, due to a time conflict; she started working Wednesdays at the library.

Catering to the crowd

Some food pantries are trying to broaden their reach. The Salvation Army recently implemented its evening food giveaway on Thursday. And the St. James Food Pantry already distributes its food in the evening — from 5-7 p.m. every third Wednesday of the month.

“We do that so working families can come,” Olson said.

Sharon Sawka, who heads The Salvation Army’s food pantry, said she doesn’t know whether those who use their pantry are working. However, she has noticed that those who seek other services at The Salvation Army do have jobs.

“A lot of people work,” Sawka said. “It’s just basically that they’re underpaid.”

Pantry part-timer Johnson did notice that some people who stood in line with her did not just work; some had full-time jobs.

She said many of those people worked in the service industry, for example, at places like Burger King or Wal-Mart.

“A huge percentage of them are people that have jobs, and maybe they’re getting food stamps or something that just doesn’t go far enough.”

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