PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The North Texas heat wave is devastating local food pantries and food banks.
Soaring temperatures have increased electricity costs for businesses and residents, resulting in fewer donations for charities.
Through the years Minnie’s Food Pantry, at 3198 West Parker Road in Plano, has been a constant source of support for low-income residents. But now the pantry is in need of support.
President Cheryl Jackson says the pantry has been feeding an alarming high number of people. “It’s really frightening,” she said. “Last week we fed over 500 people, which is almost triple the number of people [we usually do].”
The flood of people seeking assistance has overwhelmed Minnie’s and literally left the cupboards almost empty.
“Our pantry has never, ever experienced this before,” explained Jackson. “We have over a hundred bare shelves right now and it is frightening because we’re experiencing what the consumers are experiencing. My electricity bill has tripled, trying to keep this place going.”
Jackson says more and more people are looking for help as a result of the economy and trickle down effects of the North Texas heat. “They’re [the hungry] telling me they’re having to choose between paying their electric bill or buying food and I mean, the one word that I’m hearing over and over again is ‘help’.”
While it seems more people than ever are in need of help donations to Minnie’s, public and private, are down drastically. “Things are tight right now, so the people who would do the food drives for us are no longer doing them,” said Jackson. “And when I call the North Texas Food Bank, ya know, they’re experiencing what I’m experiencing; trying to get food to everybody. It is difficult.”
The situation at Minnie’s is so dire that the charity is considering shuttering the doors. “I’m gonna have to make a decision to either close it down in the next two weeks, until we can restock the shelves, or just give out one… I mean can you imagine me giving a person a can of peanut butter and jelly and tell them that this is all that we have.”
According to workers at the pantry a minimal monetary donation can have a maximum impact. “Twenty-five dollars — that provides a hundred meals and it helps us keep this place going. That’s my passion and my dream is to feed the hungry. That’s all,” Jackson said tearing up.
Minnie’s Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so any donation made to them is tax deductible.