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Editorial: Help from food pantries needed more than ever

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Despite an economy that is slowly recovering, the need for assistance from organizations such as food pantries remains essential.

In fact, we are entering a season when family finances are taxed even further. Dropping temperatures, rising utility costs and breaks from school all can strain the budgets of families who have trouble making ends meet. In turn, this combination of factors stretches the already thin resources of local social service agencies.

Food pantry programs regularly report they are short of donated foodstuffs, and they have to use more of their cash on hand to buy food to distribute.

One area food pantry reported feeding 526 people in October and already has seen nearly 500 this month, including 62 new families.

The numbers are daunting, almost making people feel powerless to help. But this week, there’s an easy way to help — by eating.

We know Thanksgiving was just last week, and the thought of turkey and dressing is not the most appealing right now. But how about some barbecue instead?

In an effort to feed the needy this holiday season, the Franklin Rotary Club will host the Jim Rhoades Memorial Hog Roast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday in Scott Hall at the Johnson County fairgrounds in Franklin. Money raised at the event will be split between the Good Cheer Fund and the InterChurch Food Pantry.

The hog roast has been a longtime fundraiser for the annual Good Cheer Fund. Rhoades, owner of Rhoades True Value Hardware in Franklin and a former county commissioner, helped plan the event.

His idea was to do something to help the hungry during the holidays. With the Good Cheer Fund needing donations, he decided to plan a hog roast to assist. For several years, he turned the parking lot of his store into a tent city, where the cooking was done and diners gathered.

Rhoades died in 2005, but the Rotary Club continues to put on the event every year.

A menu of barbecue pork and chicken, green beans, rolls and other side items will be provided by Malone Catering, which is donating the food. Drinks have been donated by Monarch Beverage Co.

The Indian Creek FFA also will be there to sell pork chops.

Diners are asked to give whatever they can for the meal. In the past, free-will offerings ranged from a dollar or two to $250.

The event has become a Johnson County tradition, but it underscores the need for continuing support of programs such as the several food pantries that serve people in need throughout the area.

So feel free to feast on good food and enjoy good company, knowing it all goes to a vital service.

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