Tuckerman food pantry serves record number of hungry families

TUCKERMAN, AR (KAIT) - Tough economic times have led hundreds of families in Tuckerman to the local food pantry, and the community has stepped up its support to provide for those in need.

The Every Child is Ours Foundation started a food pantry two years ago, and volunteers now serve 350 families.

"Without it, sometimes I don't know what we do," Spring Elliott said.

Elliott describes the past year as "crazy." She says her family is working to get back on its feet after losing everything, so Elliott goes to the food pantry in Tuckerman for a little extra help.

"Any other time, I would be too proud to ask for help," Elliott said, "and I learned sometimes you have to ask for help instead of being too proud."

The food pantry now provides boxes of food to 350 families in need. The operation serves four communities: Tuckerman, Swifton, Grubbs and Campbell Station. The president of Every Child is Ours attributes local support to maintaining the record demand.

"Instead of asking for food, it's like friends coming together, and we're kind of sharing what we're able to get with the people that we love," Jan Paschal said.

Paschal started the food pantry, and she says many families face unemployment for months or even years.

"I hope our economy comes back, and we have jobs for people," Paschal said.

Pam Burris, a Tuckerman resident, started coming to the food pantry after her husband lost his job in December 2010.

"You know, here we are, we're still struggling almost a year later," Burris said. "And, thanks to the food pantry, I really don't know what we'd do without them."

Burris, though, gives back to the pantry, donating extra produce from her garden, including tomatoes, peppers and green onions. She says she hopes to help out more once she or her husband gets a job.

"This place really made me feel less desperate, and that's when I felt that everything would be okay," Burris said.