County food bank adds ?recipe? idea to stretch budgets

Marion County Food Bank and Resource Center volunteers from left to right included Janell Holter, Jackie Volbrecht (middle), Tena Lundgren and Kathy Henderson, along with two others, helping to serve Italian lentil soup and bread. Every other Thursday a new recipe will be offered to sample. The ingredients and recipes are free to its neighbors.The Marion County Food Bank and Resource Center is entering its second phase of operation by adding a ?recipe? idea presented by the people they serve.

Kathy Henderson, the center?s volunteer coordinator, said it is a great resource for people on a limited budget.

Jackie Volbrecht, a board member and volunteer, said the first recipe, an Italian lentil soup, was available to sample on Thursday, along with all the ?fixings? free.

?What we are trying to do by offering these recipes and the ingredients is to show our neighbors that the meal will go further, taste better and is a lot cheaper (than prepared foods),? she said.

While ladling out the soup, volunteers told people the cost per serving is only 25 cents.

Tena Lundgren, another volunteer, said the center also provides free coats, gloves, blankets and hats.

The center doesn?t offer clothing, she said.

?We leave that to St. Luke Auxiliary Shoppe,? Lundgren said. ?Some people can?t afford to spend $5 for a coat if it?s between that and a gallon of milk.

?The question we asked people was, ?What would be helpful for you??? she added.

The majority of people surveyed said they didn?t have time to come back to the center for a cooking class.

?They wanted it to happen while they are here,? Volbrecht said, ?which made sense to us.

?We also had a lot of men who wanted to learn how to cook.?

The next recipe idea, with all the ingredients provided, will be Thursday, Feb. 18, and include potato soup prepared by Linda Ogden.

Volbrecht said the meal ideas don?t have to be a soup, but the idea is to keep costs down.

For the Italian lentil soup, she said, she had 25 sacks filled with all the ingredients to make the soup.

?We encourage anyone who might have an inexpensive recipe to contact us,? she said.

?I will help buy the ingredients or make the meal with a recipe. If someone wants to donate for this process, it would cost about $250.?

The board and volunteers know that not everybody is going to like particular recipes, but they like testing ideas out.

?These types of ideas help us to feel more connected with people,? Volbrecht said.

Whether it?s helping with the center?s newest resource endeavor or making a donation, every item or monetary donation counts, she said.

The Marion County Food Bank and Resource Center is for everyone in the county who needs assistance.

?Learning how to read labels, explaining what to do with food and then cooking is all part of the next step,? Henderson added.

For those who would like to give to the food bank, donations can be are payable to MAC/Marion County Food Bank and mailed to Gene Winkler, P.O. Box 133, Marion, KS 66861.

The facility is at 1220 E. Main in Marion, and open to customers from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and 4:30-7 p.m. Thursdays,

Those wanting to make a non-perishable food donation can place them in the red barrel at Carlson?s Grocery.

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