For the first time, east side pantry forced to turn away needy families

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For the first time ever, an east side pantry has been forced to turn needy families away.

Jeffrey Straine knows where he would be if it were not for the food bank at St. Bernadette Parish.

“I would be in the street,” said Straine.  “If it were not for the donations that the church gets, or things they do for me, I probably would not have a place to stay.”

A degenerative disc disease in his back led to back surgery a month ago. Getting around, even playing with his kids has been tough.

“Really, the only thing I am able to do is walk,” said Staine. “I have not been able to play basketball or do anything with the kids, but they know that I am there.”

Getting back to work has been a lot tougher. The food on the shelves at the food bank is what is keeping his family afloat.

“They help whoever and whenever they can,” said Straine. “They have been a really big help and a big blessing for me and my family.”

The food bank is struggling with donations this year. For the first time ever, families are being turned away.

“We just do not have the amount of things that we need,” said St. Vincent dePaul secretary Patti Monroe. “We do not have the food, we do not have the money.”

Pantry shelves are pretty well stocked, and there is a good reason for that, it is because food bank volunteers are dipping into their own pockets to keep the pantry running.  They want to continue to give help to the people who need it.

“I want people to be in the spirit for us, because we are trying to give back to the poor and that is what the season is supposed to be about anyway,” said Monroe.

If people do not step up and give to the food bank, Straine said his family could be among those in need that are left wanting.

“A lot of us, who are like me in my situation, not being able to work, not being able to supply for their families, it would hurt a lot of us,” said Straine.

As far as what you can donate, Patti Monroe said they will take anything: clothes, toys, canned goods, and of course money. If you would like to donate, call (317) 687-0169.  If you need help call (317) 926-4357.