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    Food's for Life in need of help

    8:30 PM, Jul 21, 2011   |    comments
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    • Arkansas food pantries need items to help feed the rising number of families without enough food to eat.

    CLINTON, Ark. (KTHV) -- For 22 years, it's been a reliable source of staples in Clinton. This year alone, the Food's for Life Pantry expects to serve close to 2,000 families.

    Now we're calling all heroes as the food dwindles and the chances for closing expands there.  

    It is a serious situation because the pantry's Board President Scott Spencer says that if current demand and donation trends don't change, they'll have to close by year's end. 

    "We give a half a dozen to each family," Scott Spencer says opening the pantry refrigerator.

    There's a fresh stock of eggs in the fridge and some new staples that are filling up the shelves.

    "We just got a truckload of food from Rice Depot," Spencer said.

    But Scott Spencer, with Food's for Life Pantry, says don't be fooled by appearances.

    "We're close to closing the doors," Spencer said.

    No sugarcoating the pantry's current situation that includes empty shelves in a neighboring room. It's all sparked by a crippling trio.

    "The donations are down 25 percent, the clientele is up 22 percent and the cost of food is up about 10 to 15 percent," Spencer said.  "If we stay at this trend, we'll be closed by the end of the year."

    Spencer and his wife Betty, who's also on the board here, cite the weak economy for fewer donations. And there's rising needs for food, especially with seniors.   

    "We're seeing a 46 percent jump in seniors," Spencer said.

    "Their medical bills have really gone up and a lot of them don't have insurance," Betty Spencer said.  

    The pantry's already lowered the amount of food distributed to keep operations going. And it's weighing heavy on Spencer.  

    "I feel like it's my fault. I feel like the people, we cut down things, even though we let them have it, that they're pointing fingers at me, it's all your fault," Spencer said.

    "I don't take it to heart like he does, I don't think it's my fault, it's just circumstance beyond our control," Betty Spencer said.

    They're feeling powerless but with hope for heroes fueling them back up.

    If folks are looking to donate food, Spencer says they need the basics right now, everything from sugar and flour to rice and beans.      

    The Spenser's did tell us the recent THV cereal drive helped out. They received about 1,000 boxes and said they couldn't afford to offer cereal beforehand.

    The pantry is located at 599 Highway 65B in Clinton. You can call them to donate or volunteer at (501) 745-2332. Or mail donations to P.O. Box 753 Clinton, AR 72031.


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