By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
It’s USDA Distribution Day at the Licking United Community Help Center (LUCHC), as a core group of volunteers efficiently prepare food packages for delivery to area elderly and shut-ins and for a line of area residents currently in need of assistance. Their efficiency is due to experience in their volunteer roles at the center.
As the price of food increases along with the cost of living, so does the need for assistance. The LUCHC is seeing a definite rise in the number of elderly participation; for the month of September, 59 out of 150 participants were 65 and over. The total number of families being served continues to increase as well, swelling from 100 in the recent past to 150 in September.
This increase brings a desperate need for volunteers to help sort, bag and distribute the food products at the local level. Ozarks Food Harvest delivers food products monthly, which are distributed the third Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The center has also seen an increase in the patronage of the on-site Thrift Store, which accounts for a large percentage of the funds disbursed to help the community. And again, with this increase, volunteers are needed to sort and hang clothing and prepare other much appreciated donated items for display. The Thrift Store is open Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers may assist with preparing the Thrift Store products on Monday and Tuesday mornings or during store hours. Seasonal clothing that is not utilized here is packed and donated to Native American Reservations in the west.
“If at all possible, we don’t want anything to go unused or to go to landfills,” said LUCHC Director Donnetta James.
It’s a great thing to share from resources to help others and it is greatly appreciated, however, sometimes the most needed resource in accomplishing benevolence is a small donation of time.
Volunteers, including youth volunteers, are always welcome and appreciated. The more hands there are, the lighter the load for all; it’s a great learning experience and it builds community while helping the community.
If you would like to volunteer or see how you can help at the Licking United Community Help Center, please call 573-674-4184 or stop by during business hours at 209 Park Street.
Photos by Christy Porter
SNAP application assistance available
By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is available statewide for those needing food and nutrition assistance. An application is required for acceptance, and Dana McGuire, Nutrition Educator with the University of Missouri Extension, is available to assist with that application, whether done in person or online.
She is available at the Licking United Community Help Center the third Friday of each month to assist applicants with submitting a hard copy of a new application or recertification, which is hand delivered to the local office the same day, securely and quickly, or she can provide online assistance on location. It is a convenience McGuire is happy to provide.
If an individual is over 60 years of age or disabled, they may qualify for the SNAP program, when not otherwise eligible. Expenses such as medical, co-pays, deductibles, transportation and even eyeglass cost factor into the eligibility.
An electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card is the method of fund distribution, allowing for privacy when participating in the program.
In addition the Family Nutrition Education Program provides a free SNAP Education Program to area schools and agencies. A series of six lesson presentations provide nutrition education, food tasting and group adult programming for hands-on cooking experiences.
The LUCHC has contact information for McGuire if needed outside of her hours on the USDA Distribution Day at the center.