The shelves at the food pantry run bare. The Grand Island Salvation Army helped 450 families
last month, a record. Many have been laid off, or seen their pay cut.
Salvation Army Social Worker Mark Merritt said, "A lot of people with reduced hours at work also where they're not able to make ends meet thus coming to the food pantry."
It's so bad a local organization known as Project Hunger wrote a check to buy cereal and other basics.
Project Hunger board member Jay Wren said, "We actually wrote a check for a large amount yesterday that'll be delivered in the next few days because they were getting low."
Their mission is to feed the hungry. The group sponsors its annual Easter Basket Extravaganza this weekend. As they do, the need's as great as ever.
"All of the money stays local here in Grand Island," Wren said.
Project Hunger would like to auction 400 baskets, but have only received 100 so far. They support the food pantry and serve a weekend meal.
We coordinate a Sunday meal and numbers are up probably 40 percent of what we were feeding a year ago," Wren said.
Social Worker Mark Merritt said the new faces they see include some who until recently had good jobs.
He said, "You see more higher income individuals come in for food pantry. People who've never used services before and are really kind of lost."
With record demand, they ask for the public's help, and say the Easter Basket Extravaganza's a good place to start.
"Hopefully they'll raise a lot of funds and in turn we'll be able to provide for hungry families," Merritt said.
The Easter basket auction is Saturday at the Conestoga Mall. There are baskets for kids, hunters, and movie lovers. All proceeds stay in the community to help the food pantry and Sunday meals at the Salvation Army.
Reporter's Notes by Steve White:
More baskets are still needed for the Easter Basket Extravaganza. They can be delivered to the Conestoga Mall in the next few days. They encourage church groups and businesses to donate.
The event is Saturday from 10-3. They will also be raffling off a half side of beef and tickets to the Lonestar concert that night at the Heartland Events Center.