By Christina Gray
Hunger is an immense concern in many rural communities across the United States, and Parke County is no exception.
According to the most recent census, there are 6,222 households in Parke County, and approximately 17% of these households experience food insecurity on a monthly basis. In the season marked by thankfulness and giving, it is important to remember that there are families in our community who depend on the generosity of others to get through in their time of need.
“You never know if or when something could come up that drastically changes your situation; no one is immune to falling on hard times,” said director of the Parke County Food Pantry, Connie Norman. “Sometimes we take for granted the things that we have, our ability to purchase coats and hats or gifts for our children. We have so many really wonderful people in our community who make sure that those who are in need of help are taken care of.”
Norman continued by saying, “There is a real stigma against people who need help. They’re looked at as taking advantage of people’s generosity. I wish more people would come down and observe what actually goes on here; they could see just how much work goes into running this place and get a look at where the donations go and how they’re used.”
This time of year Norman said that warm weather clothing and outerwear, for children and adults, are the most needed items for donation to the pantry, along with blankets and personal care items.
“People tend to not think about the little things that we use every day that really aren’t expensive… unless you’re hungry. If you have to choose between eating and buying
laundry detergent, you’re going to choose eating.”
When asked what food items they’re in most need of, Norman cited breakfast foods. “We just never seem to be able to get our hands on enough breakfast foods. At the
beginning of the month, I have to make sure we have at least 356 boxes of cereal so that each family gets one box.”
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