Thousands served by Bread Of Life Thanksgiving food giveaway

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Cuts to food stamps have left many people like Wichita's Dottie French in a tough position this holiday season.

"It took $25 off a month which is a big deal," French said. "It's really hard now."

With less money to work with, having a traditional Thanksgiving meal seemed out of reach. But French learned there was a place she could receive all the ingredients for the meal.

She didn't hesitate to get in line and wait more than three hours Saturday morning in front of the Bread of Life warehouse in south Wichita for the annual food giveaway.

"Our food stamps only go so far so we are out here in the cold getting us a turkey," French said.

She was not alone. Thousands of people waited in line with her. The first people got in line around Midnight. There were 300 families in line by 6 a.m. -- still three hours before the giveaway began.

"There are so many people out here who really need the food," French said.

It's a need program organizer Donna Pinaire says she's recognized.

"Just in the past couple months our numbers have gone up dramatically." Pinaire said.

She says Bread of Life is serving 200 more people each week than it had before.

Pinaire says a number of factors could be contributing to the increased demand. She says those include the cuts to food stamps and local layoffs.

"Many of us could be one step away from this. Everyone has been in need at some time," Pinaire said. "We want all the people in Wichita to have a nice Thanksgiving meal and many of them do not have the means at all to purchase a turkey, or anything else for that matter."

Pinaire says they expected to serve between 1,500 and 1,700 families Saturday.

Those receiving the food from the more than 200 volunteers say it means the world to them and has given them hope.

"All I can say is God is good all the time to have people like this come out in the cold, especially, helping people out. It takes a lot to do that," Wichita's Peter Beckley said.

"They're doing an awesome job. We really appreciate it," French said.

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