There are two types of hunger: starvation and malnutrition. Starvation occurs when the body does not receive enough calories to maintain itself. Relatively few people actually die of starvation in the United States. Malnutrition is more common in the United States and it occurs when an individual gets enough calories, but his or her diet is limited to just three or four foods.
Malnutrition perpetuates a cycle of poverty because a person who is malnourished doesn't receive all of the vitamins and minerals needed for proper physical and mental development and maintenance. These nutritional deficiencies eventually lead to much larger and more expensive health issues: diabetes, heart disease, poor vision, obesity, skin diseases, and more. Nutritional deficiencies also lead to a poor ability to learn in school, and little energy or motivation to handle the responsibilities of life such as work, children, family, and more.
There is no reason for anyone to go hungry or to be malnourished in southwest Kansas. Resources are available for (1) immediate and (2) extended food assistance.
Friendship Feast, First Presbyterian Church, 803 Central, provides a cooked meal on weekdays (Monday - Friday) over the lunch hour from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Manna House, 1012 1st Avenue, (620) 227-6707, works with Kansas Food Bank to distribute food on Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Clients receive whatever is available at the time (canned goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.)
Salvation Army, 1100 Ave E, 620-225-4871, Provides food all day on Monday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Wednesday afternoon from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
United Methodist Mexican American Ministries, 1700 Ave F, 620-225-0625, Provides food and clothing on Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Immanuel United Church of Christ, 701 N Fritz. Call Karen Schmidt at 620-564-3044. Open on Mondays from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Thursdays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Emmaus House, 802 N 5th St (620-275-2008) Hands out free food on Wed and Friday from 9:30-11:00 am and 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Mexican American Ministries, 712 St John (620-275-1766) Hands out food on the 3rd Thursday of the Month.
Salvation Army, 216 N 9th Street (620-276-4027) - Hands on Commodities.
The Community Food Bank of Barton County, 3007 10th St, (620-792-4001) is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:00-3:00 p.m. to distribute food for Barton County residents of at least 4 weeks who are experiencing a temporary emergency or crisis situation, or transients moving through the community who find themselves in an emergency situation. Clients are limited to three times a year with a time span of 2 weeks in between.
The Hungry Heart Soup Kitchen, 1515 Williams, PO Box 844 (620-793-9880) provides free lunches daily, Monday through Friday from 11:45 to 12:45 pm, and free groceries as the need warrants.
Christian Food Bank, 111 W 4th St, (620) 672-5150. Open on Monday 7-9 pm; Wednesday 9:30-11:30 am; Thursday 7-8 pm; and Friday 10 am to noon.
The food assistance program in Kansas is about much more than just providing food.
Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP provides food benefits, access to a healthy and nutritious diet, and education about nutrition and how to prepare good food. In Kansas, the program is known as the Food Assistance Program. It is administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and it provides support for qualifying low-income households including those who are working or transitioning from welfare to work, as well as elderly, unemployed or disabled households. Click here to download a copy of the Kansas Food Assistance Brochure. To see if you may qualify for the Kansas Food Assistance Program, take the DCF self assessment here. If you find that you may be eligible for food assistance, fill out an DCF application for food assistance here. You may also request an application at your local DCF office. Click here to find the closest DCF office near you.
WIC provides free food, nutrition counseling, and referrals to health and other social services to participants at no charge in order to keep low-Income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, new moms, and infants and children under the age 5 healthy. WIC also offers immunization screening and referral, breastfeeding support, and nutrition and health classes on a variety of topics including meal planning, maintaining a healthy weight, picky eaters, caring for a new baby, shopping on a budget and more. To apply for WIC, contact a Health Department near you.
Prairie Land Food is a program that was designed around the idea of giving a helping hand to people in your community in return for a nutritious grocery package at a low cost, helping to stretch your food dollar. For example, the Prairie Pak includes a wide assortment of frozen meats, and a variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables – just like you see in major grocery stores, and at a savings of up to 50% off retail prices! Additional packages, including meat packages and specialty packages are also available. You can pay for your purchases with cash, SNAP (food stamps) or online with a bank draft or debit or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Volunteer hours eliminate the need to pay sales tax on the food. Prairie Land Food doesn't require a specific amount of time to volunteer; they just ask that the volunteer portion of the receipt is completed with something you have done to help someone else, no matter how long or short the time spent doing it. Prairie Land Food has been in business since 2006, and they operate in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. For more information, or to order, click here. You may also call Pat McClary at 620-793-8510, or Delora Baldwin at 620-793-3423.
If you would like more information about food assistance, please call any of the three offices listed below.