Many pallets of food that would have fed local residents in need burned at a mission fire in Conway on Sunday, leaving other groups with the charge to provide more food to more people.
On Tuesday, typical Soul Food Cafe and Mission patrons of the weekly soup kitchen and food box distribution point were to seek assistance in feeding themselves and their families elsewhere.
Salvation Army Conway Corps Lt. Russell Clay said that on Soul Food’s typical day of operation, Salvation Army attendance doubled, due in part, he believed, to the mission being destroyed.
"Our traffic has doubled. It put a strain on the pantry. We’ll run out faster and maybe we’ll last the week. We saw 50 people for food boxes (Tuesday) and we suspect the new clients usually went to Soul Food," Clay said.
In an effort to provide services again, Soul Food Cafe and Mission will accept donations toward next Tuesday’s operations. The location is yet to be determined, though several churches have offered their sites.
A fund was created at First Security Bank locations where donations may be made in the group’s name.
Food donations may be taken to Parisi Speed School at 575 Club Lane and to the Log Cabin Democrat at 1058 Front St., Classified Department.
Dry goods are especially needed, such as macaroni and cheese, rice, beans, Hamburger Helper, Suddenly Pasta, brownies, crackers, and corn bread mix.
Plastic forks, spoons, knives and cups are also needed.
Judy Lively, director of an established daily soup kitchen and transitional shelter, shed light on other options for the area citizen in need of assistance.
The Bethlehem House, which Lively directs, offers a meal at Faulkner Street in Conway daily, and distributes more than 300 food boxes a month.
She said that the following groups have usually provided food boxes or meals monthly or weekly: Community Action Program for Central Arkansas, The Salvation Army Conway Corps, First United Methodist Church at Prince Street, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at Mitchell Street, Salem United Methodist Church at Salem Road, and Antioch Baptist Church at Amity Road.
CAPCA offers food boxes once a year with a DHS referral as well as monthly commodity food boxes of dry and canned goods to those who meet income guidelines.
Donald Caldwell, pantry coordinator, said that proof of income must be presented, as well as an identification card.
The pantry at CAPCA on Robins Street relies on donations and food drives, Caldwell said, and "things are moving fast."
Dry goods are soon to be depleted, he said.
The Salvation Army at Carson Cove off of Prince Street gives food boxes once a month to area residents with identification, social security numbers of family members, and proof of income or proof of a lack of income.
First United Methodist Church at Prince Street holds an open food pantry twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon where anyone can receive a food box every 30 days. Church members keep the food pantry full most of the time, said volunteer Sue Hines.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at Mitchell Street opens Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon to distribute food boxes to residents with a utility bill or receipt that proves that they reside in Faulkner County. Volunteer Beth Brady said that the pantry was "healthy" Tuesday, and that she suspected that the church would see an increase in need in light of Soul Food Cafe’s closing for the week.
Salem United Methodist Church at Salem Road opens its food pantry each Thursday by appointment. Appointments may be made by calling the church’s office at 327-2884.
Antioch Baptist Church opens a food pantry Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. and at 6:30-7:30 p.m. to any. One bag of food is offered per family.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)