Salvation Army food pantries are nearly empty in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Benton after seeing a large increase of families in need this month.
The Salvation Army has seen a 32 percent increase in food requests from families this June, spokesman Kathy Barbeire said. She said the increase is largely due to the fact that kids are out of school for the summer and parents who relied on free or reduced meals from the school now must provide those meals for their kids.
The Salvation Army in North Little Rock has seen 118 families in June compared to the 85 families it assisted in May. The Benton command saw an increase of 36 families. Neither food bank can fill orders right now, Barbeire said.
Little Rock is in a bit better shape but still doesn't have enough food to fill an order for a family.
"I just called over to North Little Rock, [and] they've just got ramen and a couple cans of pink salmon," Barbeire said.
The Arkansas Food Bank isn't feeling the shortage yet, according to communications director Tyler Lindsey. But it is seeing an increase of the need for items from its pantry of canned goods during the summer months as well, and those supplies do dwindle by the end of summer, Lindsey said.
According to Lindsey, the food bank serves over 300 member agencies and last year it delivered 10,000 pounds of food to the Salvation Army in Little Rock and 2,000 pounds to the North Little Rock location. Across the 35 counties the food bank serves, it delivered a little over 20 million pounds of food last year.
While the Salvation Army is supported by the Arkansas Foodbank, it only receive shipments from the food bank once a month, and Barbeire said that order is usually cleared out in about two weeks.
"We get a lot of food from them," Barbeire said. "But it just runs out really quickly."
Barbeire said the Salvation Army especially needs cereal, tuna, macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper and other nonperishable food items. However, all donations are welcome.
Donations can be dropped off from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Little Rock location at 1111 W. Markham St.; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the North Little Rock location at 1505 W. 18th St.; and 9 am to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Benton location on 129 N. Main St.