ELYRIA — Food levels at the Salvation Army are dipping well below last year’s average and could be gone before the fall and winter months.
Hollie Rice, coordinator for the Salvation Army in Elyria, said phones in her office have been ringing off the hook, and requests for food have tripled.
Joyce Jordan hands out a bag of food at the Salvation Army.
“Some of the things I’m seeing right now are cause for concern,” she said. “If it’s this bad right now, I don’t know what we’re going to do about October and November.”
Rice said the organization typically hands out food to more than 125 families a month, but has recently been helping up to 25 families a day on a consistent basis.
The increase means the Salvation Army won’t have enough food to get through September, and more donations will be needed if the organization expects to help families during the holiday season.
A record number of 900 families were helped during the season last year.
“I can’t even imagine what we’ll see this year,” she said.
Throughout Rice’s eight years with the organization, this year’s food levels are the worse she’s seen.
The organization currently serves more than 300 hot meals a month, and its utility assistance program has doubled, she said.
The 25 tons of food generated by the Salvation Army’s largest food campaign — the U.S. Post Office’s annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive in May — typically lasts through mid-November, but is already gone.
Rice predicted that the organization has another two-weeks-worth of food, and said the people that once walked through the doors donating food are now coming in asking for help.
“I don’t have the answers, but I want to sound the alarm right now,” Rice said. “I hope people are taking a look and realizing that they can help others. I see what is coming and it doesn’t look good."
Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.