Hays assistance center among outreach groups struggling to meet demand

Stretched thin during the COVID-19 pandemic and now with inflation taking its toll, an...
Stretched thin during the COVID-19 pandemic and now with inflation taking its toll, an assistance center in Hays is among those fighting to provide to families in need.(KWCH)
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 7:49 PM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - Community outreach organizations across Kansas are struggling to keep up with rising demand. Stretched thin during the COVID-19 pandemic and now with inflation taking its toll, an assistance center in Hays is among those fighting to provide food, clothing and other necessity items for families in need.

For the past few decades at the Hays Community Assistance Center, owner Theresa Hall and her 43 volunteers have put in the time and effort needed to be there as best they can for Ellis County families. In recent years, that’s been a struggle with costs rising with the demand.

Since 1984, the Hays Community Assistance Center has been family-owned. Hill took ownership after her mother’s death. The center helps 100 to 200 families per months with food, clothing, and basic housing items. The center provides the assistance with only about $1,000 per month. Inflation is making the challenge to stretch that modest amount more difficult.

“Well, groceries are too high, that’s why we’re not getting much when we buy it,” Hill said.

The shelves at the center aren’t as full as Hill would like to see. This is partly due to the pandemic disrupting its past two annual donation drives otherwise held each October. That’s where the largest of the center’s donations come from. Without it, the center relies on drives from the Kansas Food Bank in Wichita and local donations.

“Well, the last two years, we didn’t have it because of the virus, so we’re hoping this one will be a good one,” Hill said of the donation drive returning in a couple months. “All that [supporters] have to do is call. I can tell them exactly what we need, or we can take monetary donations too.”

Those wanting to assist the Hays Community Assistance Center can reach the center during regular business hours at 785-625-9110.