Food pantries expecting summer shortages

August is usually the bleakest month for panties

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Needy children may be the first to suffer from a projected shortage at area food pantries.

Right now, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry in Chicopee is getting by with the thousands of pounds of food that western Massachusetts postal workers collected in May. That food is expected to run out by the end of July, however. Summer assistance programs for needy children will also be coming to an end before the start of August.

It is a critical time for Michael Jay’s family. He will need extra food from Lorraine’s pantry.

“I’d have to say probably like a week or two extra food, and that’s not covered in what we can afford,” Jay said.

Lorraine’s Kitchen executive director Michael Chunyk described August as the bleakest month for his agency having enough food to meet the increased demand.

“That’s when we see over a thousand families in the pantry, the kids are out of school, also summer programs have ended, so we see this spike in people coming to the pantry,” Chunyk said.

Pantry volunteer Janet Lever was once a food recipient herself, and she knows what many of these families will be going through during August unless food donations pick up during the end of summer.

“Like I said, it’s heartbreaking,” Lever said.

Chunyk’s concern is that some of Lorraine’s food donors may be vacationing, and unaware of the need for increased giving.

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