The shelves of the White Hall Food Pantry are starting to look at bit bare, especially with Thanksgiving approaching later this month, observed Robin Bolen, coordinator of the facility at the First Baptist Church Activities Building, 8203 Dollarway Road.
She said the weak economy has increased the demand on the food pantry’s resources, including a growing list of families with children and senior citizens. Forty-five families receive food stocks twice a month at the pantry, Bolen added.
Members of the White Hall Volunteer Fire Department collected 320 pounds of foodstuffs Saturday during a food drive, according to Steven Rice, an amount roughly equal to the demand the food pantry distributes once every two weeks.
Students at Moody Elementary School collected more than 4,000 items during their annual December food drive last year and the food pantry depends on the drive for building up stocks to carry the pantry through several months.
“We would appreciate more schools collecting food supplies to help us through the year,” Bolen said.
The seven churches in the White Hall Ministerial Alliance — Central Baptist, White Hall United Pentecostal, White Hall United Methodist, Claud Road Baptist, First Baptist, Hardin Baptist and Family Church – sponsor the food pantry, which was housed for a decade at the White Hall Volunteer Fire Department, but outgrew the space, said Bolen.
Volunteers from the churches and the Simmons First National Bank’s White Hall branch staff the food pantry from noon until 3 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month.
Bolen said the move from the fire department building to the activities center allows recipients to “come inside out of the weather” when they arrive at the food pantry to pick up foodstuffs. Space was limited to one room at the fire department, with the food pantry housed in a meeting room.
In addition to providing food supplies, the alliance helps those in need with utility bills and some prescription medication needs, the coordinator explained.
Members of the White Hall City Council have been bringing non-perishable food items to the monthly council meetings for donation to the food pantry.
Bolen said individuals wishing to leave non-perishable items for the food pantry can drop them off at White Hall City Hall from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.