In July 2010, we reached a new record, one that made us uneasy about the future needs of this area. We were happy that we had the resources in place to distribute 740,000 pounds that month. We quickly realized we were paving new territory for our organization. We also realized that regardless of what the economists were saying, people were feeling the pinch and the sting of not being able to make ends meet. We heard countless stories from people who had to decide between putting the last $5 they had in gas to get to work, or put food on the table for their family.
Flash Forward July 2011.
We are finding ourselves in the same boat a year later. Just when we thought we had seen the all-time high, we are again amazed at the need this year. In July we distributed 796,294 pounds of food, a 50,000 pound increase. This is a little bittersweet for us. Sweet because YOU made it possible for us to deliver the pounds to The Panhandle. Bitter because we are seeing unprecedented need again. So you understand how big that number is, think of it like this: that is like clearing out our entire inventory.
What it all means.
We believe there is two implications of the "July Rush." One, the summer needs really are dramatically higher, based on kids being out of school which means parents provide 3 meals a day instead of 1. Also, there are a lot of costs that go with kids being out of school, like daycare expenses. The second reason for the spike is that our agencies can take more if we have it. We have been extremely fortunate to get really large amounts of fresh produce this summer, and our agencies gather them up as fast as we get them out. When we say every pound counts, there is no truer statement during the summer months. Unfortunately hunger doesn't care what season it is, but thanks to our great community, neither do a lot of people that live in The Panhandle.