County food bank seeking donations

With Christmas less than two weeks away, the Marion County Food Bank/Resource Center board continues to depend on the generosity of others in order to get through the holiday season.

Jackie Volbrecht, board member, said they have received many generous gifts and hope this will continue with Christmas coming.

After Thanksgiving, the shelves were almost bare again, she said.

?We are a different kind of bank,? Volbrecht said. ?We give away all of our deposits.?

Whether it?s non-perishable food items or monetary donations, everything helps, she said.

Started about seven months ago, the resource center and food bank is managing with the help of volunteers and those who donate regularly all year long, said Linda Ogden, another board member.

?There are those, too, who share the season with others by bringing wonderful food gifts,? she said.

In addition to those who help regularly, others groups and organizations in the county also do their part.

Volbrecht said the board finds ways to raise awareness about the facility?s importance.

?It operates because of the relationship between the city of Marion, Marion County Commission, church congregations, the volunteers and the board,? she said.

Since its opening, and by offering an evening shift, the numbers have dramatically increased, she said.

Located at 1220 East Main in Marion, the bank is open to customers on Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon, and Thursdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

An average of 80 to 100 adults with 60 children are fed at each shift.

?They can come every two weeks because we can?tstock enough food on a monthly basis,? she said.

Contrary to the common perception, most of these people are our neighbors, who are in need of help and have jobs, sometimes several, she said.

Unable to pick food up in the mornings, the idea of an evening shift was decided.

As a volunteer, Volbrecht said she meets people every day.

?They are under resourced, disabled or in emergency situations, sometimes a combinations of all three,? she said.

Those who volunteer also spend a lot of time helping.

A minimum of six people per shift are needed, plus substitutes because some of the volunteers can always be there, Volbrecht explained.

?In addition to shift workers, we have food pickups and delivering and unloading Mondays at 8:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m.,? she said.

The food is collected from many locations to include Carlsons, the Hillsboro WalMart, the Kansas Food Bank warehouse in Wichita and items brought in by individuals.

?All the food has to be loaded, unloaded, weighed and stocked,? she said.

Currently there are about 20 people who help, but more volunteers are needed because a lot of the shift workers are doing double duty with distribution, too, she added.

The name, Marion County Resource Center and Food Bank, has that title for a reason, she said.

?The facility also serves as a resource for anyone in the county. A book swap operated by a 4-H club provides a range of books for adults and children that can be taken home and then returned during business hours,? she said.

The center is also a place providing nutritional information, too.

For more information, stop by the facility during it hours of operation on Mondays and Thursdays.

Year-end tax deductible donations can be made payable to MAC/Marion County Food Bank and mailed to Gene Winkler, P.O. Box 133, Marion, KS 66861.