ANCHORAGE--Canned goods on the shelves at the Catholic Social Services’ food pantry are few and far between. The need is up more than 13 percent, but the donations aren’t following.
“We need food. We need a lot more food. We do have some grants that allow us to purchase food and some people donate food here, but we never have enough. Right now what we do is people can come in once a month and they get a two-day emergency supply of food,” said Susan Bomalaski, Catholic Social Services' Executive Director.
Each year the pantry gives out more than 700,000 pounds of food. It’s a client choice pantry where people can pick what their families need.
“I'm very appreciative I'm in Alaska, and that I can feel comfortable and go to sleep at night knowing I've got a little bit of food in my pantry because of the food bank,” said Lana Caballero, who uses the pantry to get enough food for her and her husband.
Each day dozens of people come in hoping to stock up on kitchen staples. Hunger is a growing concern around Alaska with nearly 100,000 people around the state unsure of where their next meals will come from. Volunteers and staff members say they’re happy to help give some of those a peace of mind.
“You can see a family coming in and they're stressing. By the time they get through the pantry and have filled the grocery cart of food, they've got smiles on their faces,” said Linda Bond, the Pantry Program Director.
As winter moves in, the need around Anchorage is expected to grow, and Catholic Social Services hopes people will help fill the shelves so clients can go home with full stomachs.