Wellington Food Bank battles to keep up with demand as need for volunteers grows

WELLINGTON, Kan. The Wellington Food Bank every year serves about 5,000 people and it takes an army of volunteers to meet that level of service.

That army is dwindling and that might mean less days out of the year the food bank can serve the community.

A sign posted on the door the the Wellington Food Bank shows its open three days per week from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

But if more volunteers don't step up to help the Food Bank, it may only be able to open one day per week.

"For a lot of people, it means the difference between eating and going hungry," Wellington Food Bank Director Susan Musson says.

Musson and her sister, Sandy, run the food bank together. The pantry is an operation their mother, Shirley, started in 1987.

"She stocked it herself for years, back when they did triple coupons for Dillons," says Wellington Food Bank Secretary Sandy Musson. "We would all sit and cut coupons, I mean, by the thousands. We cut coupons and she would go shopping."

The food bank keeps running with help of volunteers and benefits people in the community like Virgie Gardner.

"I love the food bank. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't know what to do," she says.

Currently, Susan and Sandy Musson only have a few others helping them restock, load trucks and unpack boxes.

"If we can't get some consistent volunteers, we'll have to cut it down to one day a week and that's gonna be a nightmare," Susan Musson says.

It's a nightmare because that could mean 80 families trying to get through the small room with only a few people checking paperwork, fling orders and restocking shelves.

With the partial government shutdown and the threat of food stamps not being distributed, even more people could be coming to the food bank. The Musson sisters say they've already talked to people who say they're worried.

More people means the Wellington Food Bank could potentially go through its food supply, personal hygiene items and pet supplies. But the Mussons say they're doing everything they can to keep their doors open as much as possible.

"We need some extra hands really bad," Susan Musson says.