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Independent Living Center delivers groceries to homebound from its own food pantry

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Disabilities can limit a person’s movement and ability to make money.  A program through the Independent Living Center in Joplin is designed to reach out to the disabled to  help with groceries.

A knock on the door at Patricia Spencer's apartment brings a regular visit from the Independent Living Center, this time with something extra, a box of groceries. Spencer has a myriad of health problems that keep her homebound including spending four hours a day getting an iv of potassium.

She says, “I don't get out. I have an immune system problem so the more that’s brought to me, it helps me not having to get out and get exposed to germs and what have you.”

She's been a client of the Independent Living Center for twelve years. It purchases most food pantry items from Ozark food Harvest. Food items range from frozen meats to fresh vegetables, dry foods and even household cleaning items.

Spencer says, “Laundry detergent is a great send. It saves  me seven or eight dollars just for my laundry soap and I usually can stretch it for the three months, just me myself.”

And it comes when her food funds are shrinking.

Spender says, “My  food stamps were cut recently from $56 dollars to $33.”

Ali O’Dell, the center’s community outreach director says that’s true for many people.  “Especially singles,” she says, “Because their food stamps can be low as low as $15 dollars a month.

 So that does not buy  much. So this is a huge need for them.”

Independent Living Center clients get a bag or box full of groceries valued at $25 to $30 dollars once a quarter. But it’s that home visit that can make difference too.”

Jim O’Hara, the center’s consumer directed services coordinator says, “It’s important to ensure that their needs are being met and any needs that aren't being met, we can take care of them.”

O’Dell adds, “What our coordinators do is make sure everything is going as it should. They make sure they (clients) have  no bruises, they're being fed properly, their money’s being spent properly, their clothes are actually clean. It’s just a good will visit.”

And for those often living on their own it's a positive dose of companionship too.

You don't have to be an Independent Living Center client to use the food pantry but you must qualify under financial need guidelines. To contact the Independent Living center go to its website.  http://www.ilcenter.org/
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