Colder temperatures, rising gas prices and a slow economy affect most people at this time of year.
But for the 1,019 Calloway County residents who visited Needline last month, an inadequate income made putting food on the table even more difficult.
Tonia Casey, manager of the non-profit organization Needline, said winter is a critical time for most families.
Needline is the largest food pantry in the region.
“We want to make sure people can eat, have heat and can shower,” Casey said. “Basic needs are what we try to provide for at Needline.”
Casey said Murray State and the community are the reason they can provide basic needs.
She said two University organizations have contributed donations in the last few months.
“Thanks to Lambda Chi Alpha and the Murray State athletic department, we are stocking the shelves very well for the winter months,” Casey said.
Daniel Hughes, member of Lambda Chi Alpha, oversees the fraternity’s work with Needline. Hughes said Lambda Chi members have reached out to the community in support of Needline more than ever this year.
“We chose to work with Needline because it supports our national philanthropy, the North American Food Drive,” Hughes said. “We really wanted to help Needline this year though because we had heard they were behind in supporting their usual 900 families a month.”
Hughes said Lambda Chi alumni have also been supportive of the food drive.
Lambda Chi has worked with Murray State’s Interfraternity Council to support Needline and send extra money made at fraternity social events to the organization. Cash given to Needline supports people in need.
“We want to show the community there’s so much more to Greek Life than what meets the eye,” Hughes said. “We’ve taken well over 300 pounds of food to Needline on the weekends.”
Casey said Racer Athletics has also been a strong contributor to Needline. Racer Athletics donated over 6,000 cans and approximately $400 in the past few months.
Brock Rydecki, senior from Ft. Myers, Fla., works with the athletic department to support non-profit organizations.
He said a major reason the athletic department decided to help Needline was because of the support for food drives other Ohio Valley Conference schools have shown.
“It seems like we’ve had more team interaction and activities this year,” Rydecki said. “The soccer team has gone door-to-door in Murray to collect cans. Every year it seems like more happens for Needline.”
More than anything, Rydecki said athletes talk to their professors about involving more students.
“We wouldn’t be able to give as much as we do without these Murray State organizations,” Casey said.
With the Christmas season approaching, Needline is preparing to fill 600 boxes for families with traditional food items such as potatoes, corn, greeens and some type of meat. Casey said soon families will be selected to receive these boxes.
“It would be wonderful if we only had 10 people needing supplies, but until that day we will continue to work our hardest,” Casey said. “And what better time to give to others than Christmas?”
Story by Lexy Gross, Staff writer.