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Area pantries feeling the pinch

The Rev. Ronal King looks at his depleted food storage area. King says his Feed The Hungry Ministries only has about five to six days' worth of food left, and the pantry will have to close after 34 years of helping the hungry if he doesn't get any more donations.
The Rev. Ronal King looks at his depleted food storage area. King says his Feed The Hungry Ministries only has about five to six days' worth of food left, and the pantry will have to close after 34 years of helping the hungry if he doesn't get any more donations.

While some area food pantries say they are stocked well enough for now, one local organization with no government funding says it's on the brink of shutting down due to lack of supplies.

The Rev. Ronal King says his Feed the Hungry Ministry is down to less than a week's worth of food. King, who relies on donations and volunteer help to put food in the bellies of the hungry, said he will have to close his doors if he doesn't get some donations.

"We've never been at the point where we're saying we have five, maybe six days of food left," King said.

Summer is typically a slow season for food donations, but King said he believes skyrocketing gas prices have made the problem even worse this year. King typically accepts money and then buys the food tax free.

The ministry has been delivering daily meals to people throughout the county for more than 34 years. King doesn't care where you live, or if you have identification or a Social Security card.

"You have one requirement -- that's to be hungry," he said.

King and his volunteers drive around to deliver dinner to anyone who needs it. He used to deliver breakfast, too, but he had to discontinue that service because of costs. Instead, he now sends an extra portion of whatever is for dinner.

King's ministry is not alone in feeling the pinch. The Clover Area Assistance Center, which provides food and financial and health services to needy families, also is running low on certain items.

Operations Manager Dona VanLeer said the Clover center especially needs donations of canned fruit, pasta sauces, cereal, juice, soup and pork and beans.

The center tries to give out four to five days worth of food for families once a month. That's already half the amount that was given just a few years ago, she said.

"We feel that we cannot cut back anymore," VanLeer said. "The policy is if we have it, we'll try to make the four to five days, and if we don't have it, we just don't have it."

Representatives of some other area food pantry organizations say they're doing well enough on supplies for now, but the need for donations never stops.

There will be hungry people to feed tomorrow and the day after that and the day the supplies in local pantries start to dwindle. "There is never enough," said Carrie Howard, a case worker for the local Salvation Army. "I wish there was, but there is never enough."

WANT TO HELP?

Send monetary donations to Ronal King's Feed the Hungry Ministry at P.O. Box 307, Rock Hill, SC 29731 or call King at 417-3881. The organization will buy food tax free.

Following is a list of other places to donate food in York and Chester counties:

- Chester County Community Food Pantry -- 135 Wylie St., Chester, (803) 377-8175

- Turning Point -- 112 Gadsden St., Chester, (803) 581-0219

- Pilgrims' Inn -- 236 W. Main St., Rock Hill, 327-4227

- Hope Inc. -- 404 E. Main St., Rock Hill, 328-8000

- PATH -- 204 Raille St., York, or P.O. Box 52, York, SC 29745 684-3992

- Fort Mill Care Center -- 513 Banks St., Fort Mill, 547-7620

- Clover Area Assistance Center -- 1130 S.C. 55 East, Clover, (803) 222-4837

- Salvation Army -- 119 S. Charlotte Ave., Rock Hill, 324-5141

- Tender Hearts Community Outreach -- 511 Kings Mountain St., York, 684-3132

- United Way of York County, 324-2735

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