By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
The number of area families getting food and other essentials from The Ecumenical Cupboard, 205 S. D St., has increased this year.
The Ecumenical Cupboard helps people with immediate needs, rather than serving as a long-term food source, explained Ecumenical Cupboard Co-Director Shirley Frey.
“We are an emergency food source rather than a regular food source,” she said.
Those who are helped by The Ecumenical Cupboard must obtain a referral from a minister or one of the area social service organizations.
Frey said that, as of the end of August, 1,655 families had been helped by the cupboard. This translates to 4,966 people helped from January through August of this year.
On the last Monday of August this year, The Ecumenical Cupboard had their busiest day Frey could remember. She said 33 families took home food for 106 people that day. These people were helped between the hours of 10 and noon that day, noted Frey.
There is a certain ebb and flow of people being helped by The Ecumenical Cupboard each month, according to Frey. She said that during the first two weeks or so of each month, fewer people come to the cupboard than do during the latter part of the month. Frey said this is due to people’s monetary and food stamp resources running out by this time in each month.
This means that, during the third and fourth weeks of each month, the number of people who volunteer at The Ecumenical Cupboard goes up, as well, noted Frey. There is a “wonderful network” of volunteers in Mahaska County, she said.
Area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts also regularly volunteer at The Ecumenical Cupboard as part of their service projects, Frey said.
“The Cupboard exists through a cooperative effort of many, many of the churches in the community, as well as businesses and organizations who do food drives for us periodically,” Frey said.
The Ecumenical Cupboard was established in 1983. They’re open from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.