Times are lean.
With a lagging economy it is hard to find anyone who has not been affected. And while food pantries, like Open Arms Ministry, are there to serve victims of economic crisis, they too have become a victim of the times.
The organization currently provides food to more then 1,500 people per month, according to Bruce Wallace, Open Arms Ministry vice president and treasurer.
Open Arms and Food Life Services receive help from Second Harvest Food Bank, but with the ever increasing number of families in need the agencies are looking for more help.
Wallace said the food ministry relies solely on donations.
“Nobody gets paid. It’s all volunteer,” Wallace said of the time he and seven other volunteers spend each week distributing food.
In addition to individual donations, Open Arms Ministry received a corporate donation from Walmart as well as a $10,000 grant from the Jean Monday Foundation.
A rise in people seeking aid during the holiday season has left Open Arms Ministry with even less food than usual.
“The rush started about October and we basically got down to just giving what people needed to get by,” Wallace said explaining people in need are eligible to obtain food from the ministry once every six weeks.
In October 4,869 people in Campbell County received food assistance from one of the county’s four Second Harvest food pantries, according to data provided by Second Harvest Food Bank.
Wallace said currently the greatest need for the food bank is canned goods.
Food and monetary donations can be made directly to Open Arms Ministry. Donations to Second Harvest are also effective as it is able to provide food to agencies at a cost of three meals for one dollar.
In order to receive food from the ministry recipients must present photo identification and a valid address.
Open Arms Ministry is located in the John McGhee Industrial Park and is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information call 566-6273.