Local community outreach centers express need for food donations

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If it wasn’t for ministries like Outreach Houses and Souls Harbor, Joplin area residents like Debra Goldman would simply have to do without a basic necessity to live–food.

“I come over here to eat and it became important for people that are homeless or low on food at the end of the month,” Goldman explained.

She’s one of a growing number of people who have been coming to Outreach House over the last five years while Terri Giarratano has been operating the ministry.

“Our numbers have gone up dramatically,” said Giarratano “We’re now feeding maybe a 150 to 160 people in two hours”

During that time, they’ve increased the number of days they serve hot meals to try and meet the need.

“Right now, because of the Fire Marshall and fire code, we can only seat 48 neighbors at a time, so they have to come in, eat, leave, and then bring in more people,” Giarratano continued. “So, our long term goal, personally for me, is to double the capacity to where we could hold 100 people at one time.”

And, at Souls Harbor, they’ve had to put out extra tables and chairs to deal with the ever expanding number of hungry people.

“Right now, we’re terribly in need of food,” explained Souls Harbor Executive Director Dianna Gurley. “We’ve been seeing an increase people trying to get food, especially due to the the decrease in the food stamp program, and it’s been really hard to keep food on the shelves for a few months now”

If you would like to donate, you can drop off items at Souls Harbor and the Outreach House.

“Pray for them, thank them for serving the people and feeding the neighborhoods,” said Goldman.

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