Johnson County food pantry says it’s still serving 900 families a month during pandemic — how you can help

Johnson County food pantry

One Johnson County food pantry says it continues to serve nearly three times the number of families it served on average before the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year. Overland

One Johnson County food pantry says it continues to serve nearly three times the number of families it served on average before the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year.

Overland Park-based Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City recently reported that it is now serving more than 900 families each month. The organization has two locations — in Overland Park and also in the Brookside area of Kansas City, Mo.

The organization says the the number of families it is serving is a reflection of the hard times still facing many metro residents nearly a year after COVID-19’s spread prompted broad economic shutdowns.

At the same time, Jewish Family Services projects that food insecurity — that is, a lack of a consistent supply of food for a healthy lifestyle — has increased by more than 40% in the Kansas City area during the pandemic.

More worrying data

Regional nonprofit Harvesters also projects that more than 387,00 people in the Kansas City metro — roughly 15% of the region’s population, or 1 in 7 people — may be food-insecure as a direct result of the pandemic.

More than 131,000 children in the Kansas City area — 21.2%, or 1 in 5 children — may be food insecure due to COVID-19, as well.

Jewish Family Services projects that those numbers are even higher: 1 in 6 people may be food insecure, and 1 in 4 children may be food insecure.

Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 8 people in the Kansas City area were food insecure, the organization estimated.

What you can do to help

Jewish Family Services is seeking donations to keep shelves stocked with food, personal hygiene items and cleaning products for its clients. The food pantry distributes more than 55,000 pounds of food each month.

To address the growing food crisis and support the JFS food pantry, 23 metro-area Price Chopper stores owned by Cosentino’s have launched a “Buy One Give One” program.

Shoppers can participate by purchasing a $5 or $10 “Buy One Give One” card at a participating Price Chopper store. Cosentino’s says it will match donations dollar for dollar.

“The Cosentinos are a local family that loves Kansas City and the people, and through the JFS Food Pantry, this promotion allows us and our customers to help feed families here in need,” said John Cosentino, co-owner of Cosentino’s Food Stores.

“This is an innovative promotion which allows all of us — old and new customers, our employees and the Cosentino family — to come together to make a significant impact in addressing the growing food crisis.”