Salvation Army Sees Jump In Food Pantry Visits During Summer Months

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The Salvation Army's food pantry is a lifesaver for mom Peggy Edwards.  She says if it wasn't for the food pantry, she would go hungry.

Edwards and her husband already struggle to feed their family of nine during the school year.  But it is even more difficult during the summer when her teenagers are home all day.

"I have 14-year-old boys who are twins who eat everything under the sun,” said Edwards.  “Peanut butter and jelly is one of our favorites around our house."

"A lot of the schools provide free breakfast and lunch, so when they're not getting that now the parents have to figure out how to provide that for them,” said Salvation Army Food Pantry Caseworker Melissa West.

West said the Salvation Army is now trying to help families like Peggy's by dishing out free food.  They're given a shopping cart and allowed to stock up on much needed items.

The Salvation Army saw a 13 percent increase in food pantry visits during the summer in 2013 and that jumped to 15 percent last year.  And that number is expected to rise even more in 2015.

The Salvation Army said the increase in demand for services mean the organization needs more donations.

West encourages families and businesses who want to help to hold food drives.

"It is a great feeling knowing you can help them,” said West.  “You don't want anyone to go hungry."

"We're already low on food during the school year so the extra food definitely comes in handy,” said Edwards.  “Very grateful, very grateful.”

The Salvation Army typically helps about 3,800 families during the summer months.

Another agency helping families is The Ohio Department of Education.  To learn more about its summer food program, visit www.education.ohio.gov/kidseat