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Pratt Rotary Club gets involved with food donations

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune
Members of Pratt Rotary present boxes of prepackaged food to Pratt County Food Bank and RSVP representatives. At the presentation are (from left) Rotary member Lorin Haas, Pratt County Food Bank director Diana Harris, RSVP director Tiffany Ailstock, Rotary member Dakota Holtgrieve and Rotary president Donna Meyer Pfeifer.

The coronavirus has reduced income, and in some cases, has stopped it altogether for some area families. With limited or no income, some families are struggling to put food on the table. 

Organizations, like the Pratt County Food Bank, provide food for families or individuals that are struggling to make ends meet. The food bank depends on food and monetary donations as well as grant money to purchase food, said Diana Harris, president Pratt County Food Bank.

To help during this crisis, the Pratt Rotary Club is providing food boxes to feed 60 families in the area. Working with the food bank and RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program), Pratt Rotary is one of 61 rotary clubs in Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle that is working to provide food for over 6,300 families, said Pratt Rotary President Donna Meyer Pfeifer. 

Rotary uses donations to pay for the food boxes. More than $50,000 worth of food will be distributed among the 61 rotary clubs. The food comes in boxes with prepackaged meals that just require water and heating. Each box has seven meals and each meal serves six people. This provides a family with nutritious food for at least one meal per day for a week. 

The 60 boxes will be split evenly between Pratt County Food Bank and RSVP. The boxed food is purchased by the Outreach Program,  Harris said. 

Tiffany Ailstock, RSVP director Tiffany Ailstock, said the food packets are shelf stable and can be saved to the end of the month when funds might become slim for some families. The packaged food is good for years so it can be saved and used later if the family doesn’t need it now. 

“It’s an example of how giving Rotarians are,” said RSVP leader Tiffany Ailstock. 

Food is the number 1 item of necessity. The food bank and RSVP are ideal distribution points to make sure the food gets to the people that need it, Meyer Pfeifer said. 

The food bank has, in the past, gotten short on supplies and needed donations of food and money. While some regular donation events, like the letter carriers food drive were cancelled, during this crisis, people and organizations have stepped up and kept the shelves at the full.

“We have faired well with food and monetary donations,” Harris said. “People have been willing to give.” 

Harris has seen an increase in the number of families seeking food assistance. In April, 15 new families were added to the food bank list. In May, 10 more were added and six more in June. Things have stabilized for now but are expected to pickup once school starts. 

Usually, families are limited to four food boxes a year but during this crisis, families can come in once a month, Harris said. 

Food items available include a variety of canned goods, cereal, pasta, peanut butter and jelly plus much more including sausage and deer meat. 

It takes continual donations to make the food bank work. The price of feed isn’t getting cheaper so donations of food and money are always needed and welcomed. 

The Pratt County Food Bank spends from $25,000 to $30,000 a year on food. The food bank gets food and monetary donations as well as grants to purchase food. 

On the average, the food bank is feeding 70 families now but that number is expected to increase in September.