“I’ve never seen it like this,” said Lt. Rebecca Butler. “We’ve never had the shelves empty,” she said in her 12 years in Griffin.
Butler said there is “a little baby food and some gallon cans of corn and green beans,” which she said are used in the shelter but not given out.
The pantry relies on donations, usually the canned food drives around Christmas and Thanksgiving to keep the shelves stocked through the year. “It’s an amazing amount the kids bring in,” said Social Services Director Jenny Reed, but donations were down and demand has been up.
“It fell short this year —under 10,000 cans,”Reed said.
“These tough economic timeshave effected everything,” Butler said. “We have had more people who never asked for help before come in for the first time, at wits end.”
Butler said they have been able to refer people to other agencies for help including Five Loaves Two Fishes.
With the changes in food stamps, Reed said, there are some items they get in for the SNAP program that can only go to families with children in the household, age 16 and younger. “We have to account for every single item or we will get cut off,” she said pointing to a dozen boxes of macaroni and cheese.
“We need help, big help,” Butler said. “People are hungry. It breaks my heart we can’t give food out.”
Usually Butler said, when someone comes in, they leave with three bags of food, enough for three to four meals. What they do get in, goes out as quickly as it comes in.
“I have to keep apologizing,” Reed said, “we don’t have goods to give.”
The Salvation Army accepts food donations year round at the store on North Expressway and at service center on Meriwether Street. “As the Lord blesses, we can bless,” Butler said.
For those needing assistance for Christmas with food and toys for the holiday season, the Salvation Army will be accepting applications during the week of Oct. 22-26, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in person only at 725 Meriwether St. Please do not bring children to the interview.
Applicants must provide picture identification, Social Security card for everyone in the household, age verification for children (birth certificate or shot verification), proof of all income and proof of expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities, all bills in the household).
For more information call 770-412-6561.