Food and drink items, many for families with young children, are in need at the Washington County Food Pantry in Blair.

Executive Director Denise Ray said the food pantry provides 7,650 meals per month to 143 families in Washington County. She added that each month, 12 new families come to the pantry where people are now able to get help with food stamp applications.

The food pantry sees a spike in the number of families with children they serve in the summer months due to schools' summer breaks, Ray said.

"What I'm finding out, it's the families with younger children that need more in the summer," she said. "They need the things to keep them full all day."

Items needed include: pancake mix, syrup, jelly, peanut butter, instant oatmeal packets, small containers of juice, tuna, crackers, pasta sauce and ramen noodles.

Other items, such as vegetables for the Harvest for Hunger program started this spring, will be accepted at the food pantry's physical location at 1737 Washington St. Those who do not have food or drink items can support the organization in other ways. The food pantry accepts checks at their physical location or mailed and made to the Washington County Food Pantry, P.O. Box 91, Blair, NE 68008. PayPal donations are also accepted.

Fundraisers also exist throughout the year, Ray said. Today is the annual golf tournament, and a new fundraiser called the Out Run 5K and Fun Run will be held Nov. 9, which is the month the pantry has a spike in general need.

Ray said the community cares and continually supports those in need as was seen this spring during flooding.

"The donations were overwhelming and so helpful to our community," she said. "We have a strong, caring community who continually supports those in need."

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