KS Food Bank expansion presents challenge for local church's food pantry

WICHITA, Kan. The planned expansion of the Kansas Food Bank in Wichita is seen as a positive step in the city, but changes present a challenge for one Wichita church that depends on the food bank to help with its large food distribution.

The Table of Hope Metropolitan Community Church says after construction on the Kansas Food Bank's addition begins Oct. 1, the church will no longer be able to load food for its Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry because it won't have access it needs to quickly load up large quantities of food for the outreach.

Currently, the church, located near the food bank, says a forklift can put food right onto the church's trailer from the food bank's back door.

"With the new building complete, that back door will not be used to lad food. The church with either have to come to the front of the building with a pickup to load only two pallets at a time, or acquire a flatbed or panel truck to load more food quickly and get it to the church to be ready to open by 1 p.m.," the church says.

Table of Hope Pastor Jackie Carter says. volunteers help unload and organize food the church receives from the food back on Monday and Tuesday mornings for Tuesday-afternoon distribution.

"It's a big project every week, but feeding people is our main mission," Carter says.

Table of Hope says it serves about 1,200 people each week in the Wichita area with its food distribution. The Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry is one of the largest pantries in the state.

With the upcoming challenge associated with the change in access to the food bank, Table of Hope says it's hoping for a solution to get all the food it needs each week to keep its pantry running

"Right now, we're just trying to network and brainstorm options, asking for financial help, and praying," Carter says. "We don't have a lot of time between now and Oct. 1, so we're trying to come up with alternatives that will see us through. It will be heartbreaking if we have to give up our pantry, just because we can't get the food to the church in time to get it set up and ready to distribute. We have so many people depending on us."