GLEN ROSE — Somervell County Food Bank Director Debi Bly is gearing up for close to 200 county residents to visit PaPa’s Pantry on Tuesday to pick up all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner.
“Our numbers have increased quite a bit, but fortunately, the community steps up and supports us in our needs so we can provide a Thanksgiving dinner for everybody,” she said.
On any given month, PaPa’s Pantry will assist anywhere between 140-160 people/families, and last month, it assisted 157.
“It always goes up during November and December,” Bly said.
PaPa’s Pantry is open each Tuesday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and again from 3-6 p.m. Those needing assistance must be Somervell County residents. In addition to having photo ID to prove current residency, those requesting assistance must meet the income eligibility guidelines set forth by The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
“As we see more people move into the area, we’re going to find there are going to be more people in need,” she said.
Once individuals have filled out the proper paperwork, they are told a certain dollar amount they can “spend” and they are assisted by one of the volunteers. Qualifying individuals can visit PaPa’s Pantry once a month, Bly said.
“We have a lot of people who have lost their jobs or people who have jobs but they’re low-paying and have difficulty making ends meet,” she said.
The pantry also prepares boxes of food for homebound senior citizens twice a month, and members of the Somervell County Senior Citizens Center pick up the boxes and deliver them.
Bly has been on the food bank board for 10 years and has served as the director for three, and she’s amazed how the community — from the schools, churches and businesses — step up and help every month.
“Our numbers have risen this year more than last year, and it will probably continue to go up for a while,” she said.
PaPa’s Pantry is located at 753 Gibbs Boulevard in Glen Rose. Smaller food donations can be left in the bench out front (the seat raises) or for larger donations that need refrigeration, Bly said arrangements can be made by phone by calling 682-936-5663 to set up a meeting during the week on days other than Tuesday.
The pantry is currently in need of cereal, macaroni and cheese, canned meat and canned spaghetti sauce. For Thanksgiving dinner, it is in need of canned sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and cream of mushroom soup.
“We need to help our neighbors,” she said. “There are a lot of children out there who are hungry, and according to statistics, there are about 2,000 hungry people in Somervell County. We need to make sure everyone gets a healthy meal.”