Food pantry officials across Pike County say they are facing a crisis.
Leaders from several agencies are preparing for an emergency meeting at the end of this month to find solutions to keep their doors open and people fed.
The coalition of food pantries that serve Pike County are inviting county and state lawmakers to hear their concerns and find a fix that will help all of the struggling agencies.
One suggestion is a central location to pick-up government issued food to ease transportation costs.
Charles Sanders, director of HELP in Shelbiana is working tirelessly to keep his services alive.
He's requested an emergency meeting to discuss the shortage, high cost and transportation of food.
“Food comes first. I mean you have to have food for people,” Sanders said.
In the last month Sanders says his job has gotten a lot harder.
Shelves once stocked with food at one facility he buys from are now filled with non-food items and his clients are feeling the pain.
“I figured well what the heck, I'll give them razors shampoo and toothpaste and they can use what money they spend for that to buy to buy a little bit of food back because I couldn't get good quality food,” Sanders said.
He says Pike County agencies have to drive to Prestonsburg to pick up government food commodities and that is becoming more and more difficult due to the high gas prices.
“The only thing we ask is get it to us. Don't make us have to pay to go get it,” Sanders said.
If his agency doesn't get help soon, Sanders fears for the people that turn to him for help.
He's says the majority of them are already struggling to get by.
“I just don't know what else they can give up, I'll be honest I don't know what else they can give up. If something don't break if something don't happen,” Sanders said.
Sanders is hopeful a solution will be reached in order to keep his and other food pantries open.
Sanders tells me the food pantry coalition will meet July 31st at the judge executive's office.
Among those invited to attend are Representative Hal Rogers, Senator Ray Jones and members of the Pike County Fiscal Court.