Despite donation, food pantry still struggles to feed poor - KCTV5 News

Despite donation, food pantry still struggles to feed poor community

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The sluggish economy has been hard on people, and it's been especially tough on organizations that rely on donations to operate.

But one food pantry recently got a dream donation to fill its shelves.

Like any food pantry, Help317 Inc. tries to serve as many people as it can, all the while giving them some choice of what they get. Sometimes that's difficult because the food pantry is in the heart of Wyandotte County, where more than 20 percent of the community doesn't have enough food to eat.

"Of the 26 counties on both sides of Kansas and Missouri state lines that Harvesters serves, Wyandotte County, KS, has the highest number of food insecure families," Pantry Director Ernie Overstreet said.

Every week on Wednesdays, Help317 hands out food to anywhere from 50 to 100 families. Ninety percent of the food they hand out comes from Harvesters, a local food bank. They rely on donations for the rest.

Overstreet said the need never goes away, even if the food does.

"It's not always as good as it is right now," he said.

The nonprofit is extremely happy right now because they recently received an anonymous $15,000 donation, which is filling their shelves for now.

"Usually donations will ramp up at the end of the year but, at the end of holidays, people try to pay for their Christmas, so the donations usually slump," Overstreet said.

The money is being set aside in an emergency rainy day fund that will be dug into when donations run dry.

The big items Help317 need are pasta and personal care items, like shampoo and shaving creams.

People can drop off donations at Victory Hills Church of the Nazarene at 6200 Parallel Ave. in Kansas City, KS, or donate online at and find the pantry Help317. You can also donate through the group's Facebook page.

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