Eagle’s Wings in need

Published 6:21 pm Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eagle’s Wings may have to turn families away Tuesday.
With bare shelves and no access to its regular food supply, the Washington food pantry has issued an emergency plea for donations.
“Federal food assistance has been cut 50 percent, availability of food to purchase from the Albemarle Food Bank is down 50 percent and the number of families seeking assistance is up 60 percent,” said the Eagle’s Wings Laura Staton in the plea. “We are actively working long-term solutions, but the need this week is upon us.”
The organization raised about $20,000 with last weekend’s Dancing with OUR Stars annual fundraiser, less than in previous years. But the funds raised will not solve this problem.
“That’s not the issue. The issue isn’t the money, but just having access to the food,” said Judy Jennette, treasurer and board member of Eagle’s Wings.
The average pound of groceries costs Eagle’s Wings about $3, Jennette explained. Through Food Bank of the Albemarle, Eagle’s Wings pays about 19 cents per pound.
If the organization has to dip into its already-depleted budget to stock the shelves with food at more than 15 times its discounted price, Eagle’s Wings will not survive the year, Jennette said.
“The fundraiser is supposed to carry us through the year,” Jennette said. “We thought we might replenish the supply more efficiently by putting out an appeal.”
Eagle’s Wings accepts any food item that has not been opened or expired. The food pantry also accepts produce. Jennette suggested donations include canned goods, oatmeal, chips and crackers, but she said the food pantry would take anything at this point. She asked that area residents take a minute to see what they can spare.
“I’ve looked in my cabinets and said, ‘How many cans of green beans do I really need?’” Jennette said.
About 114 families will seek food at the Eagle’s Wings on Tuesday. If enough food has not been donated by then, Jennette said, the food pantry faces one unpleasant option.
“We’ll turn people away,” Jennette said. “When it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Food and monetary donations may be dropped off at Eagle’s Wings, 923 W. Third St., Washington, before 6 p.m. Monday. Monetary donations may be made online at http://www.eagles-wings.org/donations.html. For more information, call 975-1138.