Demand Up 800% at Maryland Food Pantry

HNP Communications Around the Province

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The pinch of the economy is being sorely felt at the St. Camillus Food Pantry, La Despensa de San Antonio, at St. Camillus Church here, where the demand for food has increased 800 percent over this time last year.

In December, the pantry served 350 families, according to parishioner Joan Conway. In January, it served 477 families. “Sadly, we have begun to turn families away when the shelves are bare.”

As part of the President’s National Day of Service on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 19, Conway invited volunteers from the nearby communities of Hyattsville, Takoma Park, and Silver Spring, and 20 showed up. Some were visiting family members from as far away as California, Chicago, and Massachusetts, she said.

“We worked repacking rice, dried beans, and sugar into smaller packages, while we discussed ways to increase the food supply for the families we serve.”

Four volunteers have agreed to organize food drives, and a local group of mothers agreed to provide baby food and diapers.

In addition, the Washington Theological Union is helping out by publicizing the need for food or monetary donations in its newsletter. The WTU newsletter included a quote from Mohandas Gandhi:  “There are people in  the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”