In Lawrence the struggle for food has reached dire levels, said Bridget Shaheen, executive director of Lazarus House Ministries , which operates a food pantry and soup kitchen that went from serving up to 240 families two years ago, to as many as 955 over the past five weeks. Lazarus House gives out 13 tons of food a week. “People are becoming more and more desperate, life is harder and harder,” Shaheen said.
As of Wednesday, Lazarus House had 200 turkeys, far short of the 1,500 needed to meet Thanksgiving demand, Shaheen said. Many who signed up for holiday food orders earlier this month stood in line in bitter cold temperatures starting at 3 a.m.
“Nobody gets up in the morning excited that they’re going to get their groceries from a food pantry,” Shaheen said. “If you’re willing to stand in line for three hours for 11 items of food, you either really need it, or you have mental health problems, but either way food will not be denied to you.”