SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – Despite the annual financial strain the holidays may bring, some area food pantries say so far they are keeping up with demand – but they wouldn't mind a little extra help.
Mona Crim is the interim director of the Christian Community Compassion Center – better known as 4C's – and she says need in the community is perpetual.
"I've been at it for about a month, and not one day that we have been open have we been able to say no one needed anything," Crim said.
She took over the reins of the food pantry at 632 N. Jackson St. in Harrisburg on a temporary basis recently, after serving as director of the 4C's homeless shelter for seven years.
This holiday season, she said the food pantry appears to be in decent shape for provisions, and for that she is thankful.
"We thank God that whenever we get low, someone comes in and donates," Crim said. "The Boy Scouts came in a few weeks ago and donated a truckload of food. That helped immensely."
She said Wal-Mart also donated food on a weekly basis to the pantry, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Crim said families may receive donations from the food pantry once a month. The need seems to be constant, she said.
"Last Monday, 62 families came through, and that was a slow day," she said.
In Marion, the holiday season has also taken its toll at food pantries.
According to Teresa Morris, assistant to director J.R. Russell, shelves at the Marion Ministerial Alliance's food pantry are not fully stocked. Still, donations continue.
"We've had a lot of donations come in," Morris said.
With a steady amount of people coming through the doors, Morris said it was "hard to tell" if there would be more coming into the Ministerial Alliance as it gets closer to Christmas, though that is "sometimes the case."
Back in Harrisburg, Crim said the importance of regular food donations means money for the organization can be conserved.
"We can buy food if we have to, but we're buying it," she said. "If we can get donations, then we can stretch our money further."
For more information or to donate food, contact 4C's at (618) 252-2374 or Marion Ministerial Alliance at (618) 993-8419.