The approach of the holiday season is a time of uncertainty for a Southeast Kansas food pantry. The manager of this pantry is trying to organize more donations because of a growing need in the Four States.
But the pantry manager is willing to do whatever she can to help the pantry survive.
You'll notice some food inside the Southeast Kansas Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry. (LOCATION: 140 W. 10th Street, Baxter Springs, KS, 66713)
"If you look at the empty spaces, there's a lot of empties," says pantry manager Berniece Moss.
Moss is looking at the glass "half empty" because she's also looking at a growing reality. Moss says 300 people in need a month visit her pantry, an increase of 200 from a year ago. Pictures on the pantry's Facebook page tell a story of how community members have donated from the heart, but the eyes still see barren pantry shelves, and the mind knows there are fewer opportunities to help.
"I think there's more people with needs in Cherokee County now more than ever," says Moss.
Moss says donations have to increase now.
"We'll be really low by the day after Thanksgiving. Then, we'll be gearing up for Christmas meals," says Moss.
There's a need for canned green beans and other holiday meal fixings; also cereal, instant oatmeal, canned meats, diapers, baby formula. Moss says she gets overwhelmed when she thinks about the possibility of not meeting people's needs.
"You feel responsible for your children, don't you? I feel like it's something that God expects us to do," says Moss.
67-year-old Moss says she could be retired now. But she feels her work is far from being over.
"I had a little class over here," says Moss. "It wasn't the teacher's idea. It was the kids'. They said, 'We want to take food to the food pantry.' So they walked over, and they have their little backpacks, and they have two or three, five items. One little boy could barely make it because he had his backpack so full!"
Moss is a reminder that as the holiday season gets underway, blessings can come from both giving and receiving.
Moss often times keeps her pantry open into the late night hours to fit around people's needs. Other pantries in the Four States have also asked for more donations, especially during the holiday season.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas