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Dry weather reduces crop for pantries

This summer’s dry weather has left more than just county farmers without fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday, August 31, 1999

This summer’s dry weather has left more than just county farmers without fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Where we used to get a lot of fresh produce, we aren’t getting that because of the drought," said Jim Middleton, director of the Central Christian Church food pantry.

The church accepts donated food and other items throughout the year, opening each week to distribute items to needy families.

Most people buy a few extra cans or rummage through cupboards for donations in the fall and winter, when the holidays put everyone in the giving spirit, Middleton said.

And although the church has held at least three food drives so far this year, donations are falling off in the warm weather, he said.

"Usually, the farmers give us a little but they can’t right now," Middleton said.

Families now are not receiving the usual melons, fresh tomatoes and other vegetables. And demand is up for canned goods, too.

"We have a lot more requests and a lot less food but we do what we can each day," Middleton said. "Anything is helpful right now but our most pressing need is dry products such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, Bisquick, flour – any of those things."

Although the City Welfare Mission hands out less fresh produce than Central Christian, the mission also is feeling the effects of summer.

"The food’s always slow this time of year but we’re doing pretty good," the Rev. Jim Cremeans said.

The pastor knows the story well – near the holidays, more people are drawn into giving food or clothing to the mission.

Summer looks plentiful with all its greens and people realize that, in the winter, utility bills run high and people are left with little to eat, Cremeans said.

Yet, the need is ever present, even during the heat of summer, he said.

And the decline in donations seems like it’s getting worse, Cremeans added.

"It used to decrease more in the summertime than it does now, but anymore it stays the same, winter or summer," he said.

The mission’s pantry is always in need of canned goods, but the mission especially needs children’s clothes, Cremeans said.

Those interest in donating can visit the city mission at 710 N. Fifth St., Ironton, any day from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food is also given out at the same time.

Clothing giveaways are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, in the mornings.

At Central Christian Church pantry on South Seventh Street, food and other items may be dropped off Monday through Thursday, 8-11:45 a.m. or anytime at the church.