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Food pantries cope with potential shortages

The food pantry of 31 Backpacks is well stocked for October, perhaps better supplied than a normal year. Laurel Maki still has some concerns looking toward the future. Maki says her group has been proactive, but Christmastime will test it.

Each family, each student, gets about 5 13-gallon bags full of food, family style, and personal hygiene products and cleaning products, including paper towel and toilet paper.

Maki says 31 Backpacks usually begins preparing for the holiday break in early December. Instead, they have gone to partners like Tadych’s Econofoods and Pat’s Foods in the past couple of weeks already.

Students have 16 consecutive days off this year, where they won’t have access to school lunches and other vital meals they rely on during the academic year.

Maki says that with early preparation her organization has to buy different items.

We really stockpiled what we needed. Our pantry is actually pretty full right now. We spent the money early on products with a long shelf life.

Laurel works with her daughter Melissa for the nonprofit. Both have full-time jobs and do it out of a labor of love in their free time. Maki says that the Christmas packages are delivered using the bus system of each area school district.

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