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Tyrone Food Bank is serving the community

The Tyrone Food Bank, located at Wesley Methodist Church on Logan Avenue, has been assisting people in the community with needs for the past 15 years. The food bank is the last resource for people who need help – people who have exhausted all of their resources, such as assistance from the Department of Welfare and so forth.
For the people who have nowhere else to turn, the food bank is the place for them to go.
In some circumstances, people’s supplies might be getting low, or they may be in temporary need of assistance from being laid off or their unemployment hasn’t started yet. There may be emergency expenses, an automobile breakdown, medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, or low-income people who are simply running out of assistance at the end of the month.
Whatever the reason, the Tyrone Food Bank is there to offer the best assistance that can be provided. Special programs and the community helps the food bank provide such services.
“Our greatest resource is the federal and state food help programs for the needy,” said President of the Tyrone Food Bank Board of Directors Rev. Vance Clark. “That’s probably a little better than 50 percent of the materials that we give out.”
Clark continued, “The rest comes from contributions from churches, local organizations such as Kiwanis and Rotary, and we’ve received contributions from individuals. Recently, we got a large contribution from the staff at Epworth Manor.”
To be eligible for the food bank’s services, the Tyrone Food Bank does not require a means test. If people come to the food bank and say they are running low on food and need help, the food bank takes their word for it.
“They come in and are interviewed by someone who is trained, they fill out a simple form, which we keep on record,” said Clark. “In order to be able to provide this help year round, we ask people to limit their calls on the food bank to six times per year.”
Clark said for those who are very elderly or extremely handicapped, they are put in a special category where they’re allowed to come once a month. The Tyrone Food Bank makes many special visits just before the Christmas holidays.
Approximately 250 individuals and families use the food bank. This year, there has been a significant rise. But normally, every year the food bank drops a little due to people getting back on their feet and providing for themselves.
“This year we’ve had quite a few new people coming in, but to balance that, we’ve also seen an increase in contributions,” said Clark. “We are really heavily dependent on the ‘Good Turn Food Drive’ by area scouts that takes place every year in November. That usually brings sufficient stocks for us that lasts up to six months.”
The Good Turn Food Drive held by the scouts will be collecting food for the Tyrone Food Bank this Saturday, November 23, at 9 a.m. Scouts will be coming door to door to pick up non-perishable foods. People can also drop off donations at their church or they can drop off donations at Kopp Drug.
As for the Tyrone Food Bank, it’s open every Thursday from 9-10:30 a.m. Anything of a non-perishable nature, such as canned goods, pastas, paper products, and cash can be dropped off at the food bank during that time. Cash contributions are used to purchase perishable items such as butter, eggs, bread, and three different kinds of meat that are given out.
Approximately 70 people in the Tyrone community help make the food bank work. It takes six people a week to run the food bank successfully.
The Tyrone Food Bank is always in need of additional volunteers and those who are interested can either notify Rev. Clark or stop by the food bank when it’s open. It has a regular schedule of helpers, so if someone is interested in helping, there is a schedule they would have to become involved in.
“Helping creates a sense of giving back to the community for those who are in need,” said Clark. “This is the time of the year when we get a lot of help, but it’s also the time of the year when a lot of people need help.”
Clark added, “The utility bills are up and sometimes it comes down to heat or eat, and we don’t want people to have to make that decision.”