Salvation Army Major Judy Barter looks over remaining food items in the Food Pantry. The Salvation Army’s supply of food is now dangerously low. (Submitted photo)
Salvation Army Major Judy Barter looks over remaining food items in the Food Pantry. The Salvation Army’s supply of food is now dangerously low. (Submitted photo)

VAN WERT — What happens when the organization helping to feed the less fortunate runs out of food? We will soon find out.

In a news release from the Salvation Army Friday, it was announced the organization, which provides help for many in Van Wert County, is out of food, practically. The agency reports there may be enough food to last through all of next week, but that will be the last of it.

“Major Judy Barter and Robin Agler met in the pantry today to discuss what to do next about the empty shelves and pallets,” read the release. No concrete actions were outlined, although the program operates on donations. The United Way Day of Caring Food Drive is used to stock the shelves, but where those donations once lasted up to eight months, it has stretched only four or five months the last couple of years. During the Day of Caring in 2013, over 30,000 food items were donated.

At Thursday’s meeting of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Daniece Maller reported she had served 172 Van Wert households with food in June, and the July totals are expected to be even higher. In addition, the Salvation Army has had to stop all financial assistance which helps families pay utilities payments that are threatened to be shut off, as well as rent, medicine and other emergency needs so some Food Pantry items could be restocked.



The cheapest source of food for the Salvation Army has been the West Ohio Food Bank in Lima, but they have not been able to stock some of the items used to complete healthy food packages to be distributed. This has forced the Salvation Army to buy certain items from local grocery stores at a greater cost. The release notes, “The local market has been very generous, but they cannot compete with the price of shopping at the Food Bank.” This has become a familiar tactic for the Salvation Army over the past two years.

So with demand for food increasing and available food running dangerously low, help is needed to keep satisfying the needs locally. The next scheduled event to restock the Food Pantry is the 2014 United Way Day of Caring, which is scheduled for Sept. 26, approximately two months away.