South Plains Food Bank faces big holiday shortage - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

South Plains Food Bank faces big holiday shortage

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The South Plains Food bank is facing serious shortages as demand is up and donations are down in 2011. The South Plains Food bank is facing serious shortages as demand is up and donations are down in 2011.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The South Plains Food Bank has had to cut back on canned food distribution this year after cuts to USDA grants have left them 1 million pounds short.

Typically each food box contains 12 to 15 cans of food, but this year the food bank has cut back to 8 cans per box to try and stretch their supply.

Today there are a lot of empty shelves in the food bank warehouse as increasing food and gas prices have cut down on the amount of help the USDA is able to provide.

Food Bank CEO David Weaver said, "The things that we are missing are some of those basic staples like rice and beans and canned foods and vegetables."

Tocoiya Harris has worked at the food bank for three years. She makes sure each box at least has a healthy variety of foods.

"I am cutting back to give them maybe two cans of carrots, maybe one fruit," Harris said .

The South Plains Food Bank has fed 84,000 people this year and they expect to feed 6,000 during the holidays - 3,000 more than usual for this time of year. They say one in five people in the South Plains area use the food bank.

They also maintain 18 mobile pantries in rural areas around the South Plains. In the next five years, they expect to have nearly 30. The food bank feeds nearly 1,000 people a month in these areas, distributing more than 65,000 pounds of food.

"A lot of those towns have farmers and with the drought we are going through a lot of people are hurting from that, so that's where the rural deliveries come in," Harris said.

Fortunately, local grocery stores are stepping in to give fresh produce. The problem? That type of food is perishable and doesn't last as long as a can.

"The canned goods have a shelf life. So even if the best by date is December of 2012, it will still have six months where it can last," Harris said.

To hold the food bank over, they have had to purchase food on their own with money from other programs. Despite the shortage, people in need say they are thankful for whatever they can get.

"It means a whole lot to us because I'm unemployed and I have a disabled brother, so it helps us very much," said Terie Vaults who uses the food bank.

If you would like to help you can bring canned goods to the food bank directly at 50th and Locust or to United Market Street at 50th and Indiana any time.

The food bank also accepts monetary donations on its web site www.spfb.org. They say $1 is equivalent to 5 meals.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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