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Salvation Army seeks donations to help feed the hungry
Salvation Army food boxes
Salvation Army social services director Lissette Maunakea and her daughter Leilani Maunakea put together an emergency food box on Tuesday (Photo contributed).

Turlock’s Salvation Army Corps is seeking help from the community to restock its emergency food box pantry.

As more individuals and families struggle during this time of economic slowdown, the need for emergency food boxes has risen. On average, the Turlock SA Corps hands out between five to 12 boxes of food on any given weekday. On Monday, they handed out 97 emergency food boxes, according to Salvation Army business manager Beverly Pritchard.

“We don’t have the resources to come up with that much food. We do have reserves and the grocery stores will give us things that will expire soon. But we’re not getting enough to keep up with the demand,” said Pritchard.

During a normal year, the Turlock SA Corps provides groceries to over 1,200 families and assists 95 families with utility bill assistance. Those numbers are likely to triple with the prolonged shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, the food boxes went to individuals or families who needed just enough food to get them through a rough time until they could get paid again or get government food stamps. The boxes contain enough food to feed the people in their household for four to six days and individuals or families could only receive a box from the Salvation Army once every three months.

Pritchard said the Salvation Army has relaxed its mandatory wait in between receiving food boxes due to the need.

“We have so many people calling for help,” she said.

Along with the increased need for food, the Salvation Army has had to cancel two of its annual fundraisers due to the stay-at-home order, making an impact on the nonprofit’s ability to purchase more food.

This is where Pritchard hopes the generosity of Turlockers will fill the gap.

“Turlock is an awesome community. When we’ve asked for needs in the past, Turlock has come through,” she said.

Those wishing to donate funds to the Salvation Army can call 667-6091. Food donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 893 Lander Ave., Turlock. Friday drop-offs can be arranged.