Pastor Stacy Stone is used to preaching the gospel at New Hope on the Last Frontier Church.
She continues delivering a different kind of message lately.
“Our produce stand and vegetable stand is not always full,” Stone said. “Fresh stuff is harder to get, a lot of stuff they choose from is already rotten.”
Hundreds of people grocery shop at the church once a week. It is one of the places around the area that distributes food to needy families. The demand is growing.
“We went from 80-100 a week to 250 a week,” Stone said. “They cut food stamps benefits, unemployment got cut, people don’t have a lot of jobs right now — groceries are very expensive.”
The church provides 20 percent of the food donated to the families. The rest comes from the Food Bank of Alaska, which has its own problems.
“Most of these shelves, as you can see, are empty,” said Mike Miller, the Food Bank’s executive director.
He’s sent out his own shopping list to the community asking for donations. There are certain items in high need, Miller said.
“High-protein foods, peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned tuna,” Miller said. “All of the highly nutritious foods.”
The Food Bank of Alaska continues feeding those it can. However, the portions may not be as large if it’s shelves are not filled.