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Food bank wins grant for aid to laid-off workers

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By Grant Guggisberg
Published by
The Wichita Eagle
July 2, 2009

The Kansas Food Bank has been awarded a grant to help pay for food donated to the Laid-Off Workers Center, a United Way-based endeavor that offers help to the unemployed.

The matching grant was provided by the Sunflower Foundation of Topeka and will donate a maximum of $41,250 to aid families during the sagging economy.

The Kansas Food Bank is assisting by providing food boxes for people who are seeking help at the center.

“It is important that we find funds to help meet the extraordinary needs this economy presents us,” Polly Basore, development director for the Kansas Food Bank, said Wednesday. “Each box of food costs us around $17.50, and we are sending over 500 boxes for the month of July.”

Because it is a matching grant, the Kansas Food Bank receives $3 from the Sunflower Foundation for every $1 it receives in donations. To use the whole grant, the Kansas Food Bank would need to raise $13,750, which would – including the grant – give it $55,000 to purchase food.

The Kansas Food Bank is seeking donations through a direct-mail campaign.

“We are sending out letters to potential donors, hoping to raise money that will be matched by the grant,” Basore said. “The letters emphasize the importance of meeting this need and the added value donating now will bring.”

Basore said that the Laid-Off Workers Center is unique in that it offers one-stop help for those who need assistance.

“To offer financial help, as well as food, debt and budget counseling, and job training all in one place is convenient and best serves the laid-off workers,” she said.

In June, the Kansas Food Bank sent 360 food boxes to the center. With unemployment rising, Basore expects that number to grow.

To receive help from the Laid-Off Workers Center, the United Way says applicants need to make an appointment by calling the 211 help line.

Related links:
The Wichita Eagle
United Way of the Plains
United Way’s Laid Off Workers Center page
Sunflower Foundation of Topeka