Pratt County Food Bank meeting needs of many

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt County Food Bank volunteer Terry Olson holds the front door open as Louise Reimer and Kelly Garretson roll out a loaded food cart for a customer. Two large boxes of food are assembled indoors for larger families, a small box for individuals or couples. Those needing food assistance are asked to stay outside the building and the volunteers in masks and gloves will bring out the food donations.

With current coronavirus safety guidelines are in place, volunteers at the Pratt County Food Bank are ready and willing to give food to those in need. Food Bank Director Diana Harris said the Pratt community as a whole has been very supportive in donations of money and grocery items, so come one, come all to receive.

"We are in really good shape," Harris said. "We have had some generous donations, so even though we served 10 more families than usual in April, we have plenty of food and we are here for anyone in the area who needs some help with groceries."

Harris said some requirements have been dropped, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, specifically the rule that allowed each family to come to the food bank only five times per year.

"Some of our regular families had already used that up, so we just dropped that and now allow people to come as they have a need," Harris said.

Safety precautions that have become standard in these times include that those who wish to pick up food must stay outside the food bank building, preferably waiting in their cars. Volunteers in masks and gloves will come out and get a name, number of adults and children in the family, and then go back and bring out a cart with prepared boxes or box of food.

Food Bank volunteer Kelly Garretson said two boxes of food for a family of three to six people usually contained things like flour, sugar, oil, butter, meat, cereal, fruits, vegetables, pasta and a variety of other items.

"We give them whatever we have on hand," he said. "The meat depends on what has been donated or what Diane has been able to purchase with financial donations. It is usually a good variety."

Garretson said a smaller portion of food is given to small households or individuals, usually just one medium box full.

Joining Garretson in rolling out food carts with boxes of groceries for those in need last week were volunteers Louise Reimer and Terry Olson.

“We are really concerned about coronavirus safety,” Reimer said. “But we are also very concerned about making food available to our Pratt families.”

The Pratt County Food Bank, located at 111 W. 4th Street, Pratt, is open 7-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Donations of food items and money, used to purchase needed food items and to pay for facility bills, are always welcome. Call 620-672-5150 for information about donations needed, or to make an appointment to pick up food. There are no income requirements for food pickup at this time.