A corporate donor on Tuesday gave the Kansas Food Bank 7,000 pounds of food and drink for the needy. Food bank director Brian Walker says they’re going to need it.
So far this year, the food bank has distributed 10,770,264 meals to the needy in the 85 counties it serves in Kansas. Of that, 6,060,304 were distributed in Sedgwick County.
Walker was grateful for the food handed over Tuesday morning by employees at Leading Technology Composites. He showed up to thank them as they loaded his truck. His annual numbers have increased over the years.
Since school started in September, the food bank has also given out 92,764 food backpacks to schoolchildren across the state. Of those, 22,070 backpacks went to Wichita children. The Food 4 Kids backpacks go out on Fridays to help tide children over on weekends, when they might not have food.
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Walker said leaders from the hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries he serves tell him that most of the needy who take the food these days are working people.
“For whatever reason, most of our needy are underemployed,” he said. “Our rule, our mission, is that no one should go hungry. Our common sense tells us that we don’t see this problem going away.
“The nice and fluffy thing to say here is that we hope one day that we will work ourselves out of our jobs (at the food bank),” Walker said. “Unfortunately, we don’t see that happening.”
The food donated during the holiday season is welcome in part, Walker said, because “the need doesn’t end at Christmas.” He said the number of needy in the area usually increases after the holidays as companies who hired extra temporary workers lay them off as the economy slows.
Employees at Leading Technology Composites compete annually to see which department can donate the most food, according to company officials. The average employee donation: 133 pounds.
The food bank supplies food to 500 food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies in Wichita and in 85 counties in Kansas. The bank distributed more than 11 million pounds of food last year, supplying meals to nearly 137,300 Kansans, the food bank said in a written statement.