Following the holiday season local food pantries still have need for volunteers as well as donations. Grand Central Station Executive Director Karen Bray said volunteers are one of the primary needs post holiday season.
“It is something we need for all of our programs on a regular basis,” Bray said. “In all of our programs from the soup kitchen and our food pantry, at a minimum, we’ve grown 10 percent over the last year.”
Bray said while they do welcome food donations, money goes further for them due to the ability to purchase items in a bulk rate in a way that average consumer cannot.
While donations increasing during the months of November and December, they begin dropping back off at the start of January. Bray said often they receive enough donations during the holiday season to carry them into the first few weeks of the year.
“Finance is always one of our needs and concerns going into the year,” Bray said. “Our doors stay open based on our donations. We don’t see a drop of in volunteering but we do in donations. The majority of our donations come in November and December.”
During the month of December, Children’s Express, a program of GCS, provided lunches for 2,121 students. The program feeds 714 kids per week on average. Those numbers are expected to increase for 2020. The organization provided 5,500 hot lunch meals during the months of November and December. That includes more than 1,600 breakfasts.
Bray said there are plenty of volunteer opportunities.
GCS needs people to help with the dining car soup kitchen Monday through Saturday and the Green House pantry Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They also pack the lunches for students who receive donations through Children’s Express on Thursdays.
“We want to thank the community for their support. We couldn’t do this without them.” Bray said.
Those wishing to donate or volunteer can contact the station by calling 903-957-0264. They can also find a volunteer application on the website, www.grandcentralsherman.com.