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Olathe Salvation Army Facing Severe Food Pantry Shortage In Face Of Rising Poverty

Salvation Army USA West
The Salvation Army's Olathe location is struggling to keep its food pantry stocked. Officials with the organization say it is likely due to rising poverty levels in Johnson County, Kansas.

TheSalvation Army's Olathe food pantry is facing a severe food shortage due to rising demand.

Since 2012, demand for food has climbed 72 percent at the Olathe location. Officials say that it could be because of a sharp rise in poverty levels in Johnson County, Kansas since 2000. 

Major Mark Martsolf with the Salvation Army says most of the people who are coming to the food pantry are struggling families whose wallets have been hit hard by back-to-school expenses.

"The costs of getting kids back in school hit the budget for a lot of families," Martsolf says. "Most are hardworking families who are maybe working two jobs just trying to make ends meet and survive paycheck to paycheck."

Martsolf says the food pantry was able to take advantage of Johnson County's "Feed the Need" program, which is a public-employee led initiative to stock food pantries. That gave the pantry two pallets of food, but Martsolf says it will go quickly.

The Salvation Army is also calling on community members to donate basic items like toilet paper and diapers.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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