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Tallahassee Emergency Pantry Facing Potential Shortfall

Darius Norvilas

With the cost of groceries steadily climbing, some Leon County seniors are finding themselves unable to keep up.  Elder Care Services in Tallahassee maintains a food pantry to help out in emergencies, but even that is stretching thin.

Elder Care Services is a private non-profit in Tallahassee offering assistance like the Meals on Wheels program for local seniors.  Senior Solutions Specialist Ed Gines  says the group also operates an emergency food pantry providing groceries for seniors in need.

“[It’s] for folks that find themselves because of some sort of circumstance, financial stressor or something, find themselves short on a monthly basis for basic necessities,” Gines says.

The aim, Gines says, is to provide at least three days’ worth of meals in each bag. But Gines says the pantry is facing a serious shortfall.

“Summer typically is a very slow month for donations, so right now we’re in a critical situation,” Gines says.  “We really don’t have any protein items or starches; we have just a few cans of soups on hand.”

The pantry is a small room, no bigger than a closet really.  It’s stacked floor to ceiling on all three sides with shelves, and many of them are empty. 

“There’s very few things available,” Gines says. “This is our protein section where there’s usually beans and canned meats and things, and as you can see there’s nothing.  Peanut butter and jelly is another protein, staple, and we have none of that.”

Seniors who need help can get a bag full of groceries once a month, but Gines worries the pantry may be unable to meet the demand much longer.  Elder Care Services accepts non-perishable food items, paper goods, and hygiene products like toothpaste.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.