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The shelves are almost bare at local food banks, and officials are hoping that no one will have to go hungry.
The Shelby Family Service Center, located at the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency on Washington Street, had only a few dozen cans of vegetables and a few loaves of bread as of Tuesday.
And the problem is just as bad if not worse at two other free food-distribution centers in Shelby County. Centro Latino is awaiting a delivery, and Operation Care's food supply is the lowest it has been in its 20-year history.
"We haven't had to turn anyone away yet, but I'm afraid it's just around the corner," Operation Care Director Judy Roberts said.
Operation Care, at 802 Washington St., relies on donations and food drives, especially the annual food drive put on by the post office every year. "But that's almost all gone now," she said.
"We're really low because we've had to serve a lot more people than usual because of the economy. Our food supply is just running out."
Kim Embrey, the new director at the Multipurpose Community Action Center, said she hopes to get at least a partial food delivery on Friday.
"We get our canned goods and other non-perishables from Dare to Care in Louisville, and we're expecting a truck on Friday," she said.
Dare to Care Food Bank delivers fresh produce daily to agencies serving people in need of food throughout the Metro Louisville area. Dare to Care is in its 10th year and has distributed more than 2.750 million pounds of food for its fiscal year ending June 2008.
But its program depends on donations of produce from local merchants, as well as national companies, and its budget has increased by 35 percent this year because of September's wind storm, which knocked out power to freezers and refrigerators.
"We had to spend $160,000 to stock our food mobiles," Executive Director Linda Miller said. "But thanks to Yum and many other generous businesses and individuals here, we are in good shape."
Shelbyville's food bank, located at Daniel Field on Washington Street, also accepts and welcomes donations from food drives, businesses and individuals.
Embrey said that people can receive one food box per month as well as an emergency food basket four times per year. "They don't have to have an appointment," she said. They can just come in and get help."
Operation Care is for people who are in the midst of a food crisis, manager Lisa Napper said. "We help people who are in crisis, maybe they've lost their job and they're out of food for whatever reason," she said. She said Operation Care is also accepting donations of non-perishable foods, especially canned goods, pasta, peanut butter, crackers, canned meat, beef stew, cereal and other staples.
Napper said that in the next month or so, Operation Care will be getting a freezer and then will be able to accept donations of meat and other frozen items. "That will help a whole lot," she said.
Carolina Tumax, director of Centro Latino, which distributes food on the first Tuesday each month, said her facility is open to everyone but that supplies run low.
"Every Tuesday, we go to Louisville and pick up three thousand pounds of food, which we use to make 70 food baskets," she said. "Unfortunately, it doesn't go very far, because there are a lot of people in need. If they come here on the first Tuesday, they may be able to get food, but if they come on any other day, we can't help them, because we don't keep any food here."
In addition to local food banks, many local churches either have soup kitchens or food programs of their own, such as Simpsonville Baptist and Highland Baptist Church. The latter has a program called "Angel Food," which is a program in which anyone may purchase food at a discount price.
Donna Jo Cheak, director of the program, said anyone may purchase a box of food, enough to feed a family of four for a week, for $30. The "regular" box contains everything needed to make meals, from meats and entrees, to vegetables, pasta, eggs, desserts and frozen foods.
There are also special boxes for seniors as well as different specials. The boxes must be purchased and paid for in advance at the church. Orders can be placed every other Sunday and Wednesday. The next purchase dates are Nov. 2, 5, and 9. November orders may be picked up at the church on Nov. 22.
This month, patrons can also purchase a Thanksgiving box.
Dare to Care receives financial support from such companies as Kraft Foods, Kroger and especially Yum, which gives the organization $1 million per year.
"Yum is great, their corporate office is here in Louisville, and they make sure that nobody in this area is going to go hungry," she said.
Contact numbers for food assistance
Operation Care: 633-1965
Family Service Center: 633-7162
Angel Food Ministry: 321-5767
Centro Latino: 647-3349
Simpsonville Baptist: 722-5246
Highland Baptist 321-5767