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Food pantry aids area

DEMOPOLIS — Each Wednesday through out the year, a group of around 11 area citizens gather just north of downtown at the Temple B’Nai Jeshurun at 8 a.m.

By 9 a.m., the fun is over.

Temple B’Nai Jeshurun houses the Demopolis Food Pantry, which has been helping Demopolis residents make ends meet since its founding in 1980.

The pantry uses the West Alabama Food Bank in Tuscaloosa as a primary source for food, but over the past year, participation in competitive drives around Demopolis has helped the Pantry to not rely so heavily on an outside source, where food costs 16 cents per pound.

The West Alabama Food Bank is a non-profit clearinghouse that solicits and collects surplus food from supermarkets, restaurants, and manufacturers and then distributes those items to agencies feeding the needy.

Some of the groups who have helped supply the pantry in the past include the Demopolis High School JROTC, the Boy Scouts, and the Tombigbee EMS.

But the most recent contribution came from the First United Methodist Church of Demopolis, who provided around 8,000 non-perishable items to the pantry.

Those items were delivered on Wednesday at 8 a.m.

“We definitely appreciate [their contribution],” said Byrd Rish, who heads-up the Pantry’s efforts.

“It saves us on the purchasing of food from the food bank in Tuscaloosa.”

According to Rish, the pantry serves 185-200 clients every Wednesday, and served 10,226 paper grocery sacks of food in 2007 alone.

Anyone interested in helping the pantry by donating can drop items by the Parish House any time.

If you or someone you know may qualify for assistance from the pantry, stop by any Wednesday morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to get information on qualifying for assistance or call 1-800-772-1213.