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MAHONING VALLEY Lack of donations causes food banks to face shortages



Published: Thu, November 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Monetary donations are best way to offer help, an official said.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley had only three turkeys and eight cans of yams in its pantry Wednesday -- barely enough to serve lunch, its director said.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, officials from the Rescue Mission and other area food pantries say they are in dire need of just about everything.

Linda Sherrard, director of public awareness for the Rescue Mission, said the mission normally has between 200 and 300 turkeys this time of year. But now the group, which has been a part of the Mahoning Valley for 108 years, needs everything others normally see on their tables over the holidays -- cranberry sauce, yams, canned string beans, corn, gravy mix and condiments.

"I think our donations are down a little bit right now because there's so much need in our country," Sherrard said. "With the cool months ahead, things become even harder for the homeless."

Services: Besides feeding people, the Christian organization provides clothing, shelter and education to people in need.

Sherrard said the Rescue Mission served more than 104,000 meals and provided more than 32,000 nights of shelter last year.

She said people can donate in many ways, either by dropping goods off directly to the Youngstown office, or by sending monetary donations through the mail.

"If they received a grocer's certificate for a turkey, and they're not going to use it, send it down," she said.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley also is in need.

Second Harvest: Director Mike Iberis said Second Harvest feeds about 10,000 people a month and services 200 agencies.

"Most of the time our need is in the protein area, such as tuna or canned meat," he said.

They also can use pasta or canned vegetables right now.

Michael Wright, executive director of the Community Food Warehouse of the Shenango Valley, located in Farrell, Pa., said the best way to help its 31 agencies across Mercer County is through monetary donations.

"We could buy more with the money through our buying power with the food bank network," he said. "We buy it at a bigger quantity, so that gives us a better price."

With all the need and donations being sent around the country, and even the world, Wright and the other food pantry officials asked that donors not forget them this year.

wheatley@vindy.com




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