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Kansas City-area food pantries thankful for community support amid high demand for food

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 19:05:37-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's a busy holiday season for local food banks and community kitchens.

Organizations are being hit harder by supply chain issues on certain items, and many say the need for food continues to be high this year.

Harvesters Director of Communications Sarah Biles said volunteers at the food bank have been working tirelessly to keep up with the high demand.

"When you go back to 2019 we have been distributing this fall about 1,000,000 pounds more a month than we were pre-pandemic," Biles said.

Biles said the organization isn't quite at the level of need it was this time last year, but there are still many food-insecure families in the Kansas City metro to feed.

Biles said supply chain issues thankfully haven't hit the organization too hard.

"A couple of small items that we haven’t been able to get as quickly, but generally speaking, we have some wonderful vendors that we work with and we’ve been able to get the food we need," she said.

Across town at NourishKC, a community kitchen for anyone in need, supply chain issues have meant a tough time getting plastic water bottles and to-go materials.

Executive Director Sue Fenske said one vendor cited driver shortages as the issue.

"We actually had a long-term relationship with a food vendor who just called us one day and said we are not going to be delivering your order today and we are not going to be taking orders from you for the foreseeable future," Fenske said.

However, she said thanks to community support, the kitchen has never had to turn anyone away.

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, NourishKC will open its dining room at 50% capacity just in time for Thanksgiving.

Fenske wants anyone in the community to know they're welcome at any time, no questions asked.

"It is hard to go to people you don’t know and say out loud that you are having a hard time feeding your family and so our goal is to make that as easy as possible," Fenske said.