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The arrival of summer means a greater need for food and shelter - KOAM TV 7

The arrival of summer means a greater need for food and shelter in Pittsburg.

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Pittsburg, KS -

The Wesley house is seeing increased demand for its food pantry and its daytime cooling shelter for the homeless. Officials say last year's point-in- time count indicated only fifteen homeless people in the community.

But even more seek help in the summer months. Wesley house director and pastor, Marcee Binder said, "Our working poor, because we are service industry high, and those when it's not busy, cause folks are on vacation they're not doing things as much. So, there's layoffs and our homeless population, normally in the winter time friends and family take them in, so there's nowhere for them to go at night. They're on the streets. During the day they come to Wesley house."

The Wesley house offers hygiene supplies but is currently in great need of bottled water and bug spray to help the homeless.

Lord's Diner

Another Pittsburg charity has also seen an increase in demand for meals. And that's created a need for more volunteers at the Lord's Diner.

Meet Mary Butler. "It just does your heart good. They are so well organized. You come in and feel comfortable doing what they want you to do."

On Wednesday, Butler was on salad duty. The Lord's Diner volunteer is part of the meal prep team which could use some more helpers.

Butler said, "Sometimes I do desserts, open cans, sometimes help with washing dishes. Whatever needs to be done. Whatever your level of ability is. If you can lift, fine. If you can't, fine. That's ok too."

It's simple assistance for the cook who would end up doing it all without the volunteers. And greatly needed in spring and summer as more show for the evening meal.

Volunteer coordinator Lisa Russell said, "Beginning of the month not as many might be 140 to 160. Then by the end of the month 200, 214, 220, 230. What happens is the paycheck runs out at the end of the month. That's when we see the increase."

Russell says summer brings a bigger number of families with kids out of school. Like Sara Ozbun, who has a family of five, and understands that money can be tight. She said, "Yes, it can be very hard some times to stretch that out some times. And the Lord's Diner has been a huge blessing in that regard helping us stretch our grocery budget. Helping us through the month."

Volunteers also help serve dinner during from 5:30 to 7;30pm. "It's twenty people a night is who we have for volunteering and we have a job for all twenty people," explained Russell.

Civic groups and organization often help. Including city staff. City manager Daron Hall said, "Hunger is something in Pittsburg we take very seriously. And no matter what the program is, when people prioritize, what's the first thing we need? Food, shelter top of the list."

While it is feeding the hungry volunteers say there is a reward for them as well. Hall not only helps with the city but with Rotary and said, "Yes, its very busy. It's two hours you'll never get back. It's like zoom and it's over, but it's probably the best two hours of the month always."

And Butler gushed, "I love it. I like helping people it just makes me feels good. And you know you're helping people."

If you'd like to help, you can stop by or contact Lisa Russell at Lord's Diner between 10:00 a-m and 2:00pm at 620-875-1380.

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