McCOOK, Nebraska -- Sandra (not her real name) knows how valuable the McCook Food Pantry is.
"I used to be the type of person who never asked for help, I did things on my own," the 55-year old grandmother said. "But, sometimes it doesn't hurt to put your pride aside and ask for help.
"For the longest time, I thought other people deserved it more than me. But people kept telling me I need it just like everyone else does."
Sandra, who is retired and receives disability, utilizes the McCook Food Pantry and recently received groceries such as fresh fruit, including peaches and musk mellow, canned goods, plus eggs, bread, flour and sugar. She said she uses the food to feed herself and her grandchildren.
"It's a blessing, it really is," she said of the Pantry. "They make things a little more easier, like getting the other bills paid."
Sandra is one of more than 200 families who stop in once a month at the Pantry to receive groceries.
Without the help of the community, the Panty couldn't survive, said coordinator Dorothy Henton, who started with the McCook Food Pantry in 1980. From then until now, the number of people using the Pantry has increased, with people coming from 20 surrounding towns in six counties.
Now, "We give out twice as much food to twice as many people," Henton said. The increase of those using the pantry has nearly doubled through the years, beginning with about 5,000 in 1986 and escalating to more than 10,000 by 2010.
Although the Pantry spends $2,000 a month on perishable items, such as bread, margarine and commodities like sugar, flour and peanut butter, the canned items are getting low.
Which makes the annual food drive even more crucial.
Scout troops will drop off a sack at area doors on Friday, Oct. 12 and will pick the sack back up Saturday, Oct. 13.
Organizations, groups and individuals can also donate canned items on Friday. Non-perishable items can be dropped off at the Canterbury House, 509 W. First, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monetary donations can also be dropped off or mailed to the Pantry.
If another time would be more convenient, call Henton at 308-345-4447.
Also this year, farmers can donate bushels of grain at any Frenchman Valley elevator, with proceeds given to the Pantry. Farmers who wish to participate can tell the operator at the elevator how much they want to donate.