PARIS, TX -- Many of us are gearing up for the holiday season and planning where to go and what to eat, but many people around the world and even Lamar County are in dire need of food.
The Downtown Food Pantry in Paris supports not only the 800-plus people each week that come through their doors, but also three other pantries in Blossom, Powderly and Roxton.
The USDA says that 20-percent of Lamar County residents are food insecure, meaning they don't know where their next meal is coming from.
"In a county of about 50,000 people, we are talking about 10,000 people," said food pantry volunteer Chuck Burton.
"We keep saying we can't grow anymore, we almost cut it off at 250 each time we were open," said food pantry volunteer Marvin Simmons. "But I said we can't do that, there are people that need it. So we are going a little over 400 every time we are open now."
Many of those families depend on the food pantry to feed their families for the holidays.
"Last Thanksgiving we weren't open, so Tuesday we did I think 535 families," said Simmons.
"Which was a record at that point and I don't believe that it has gotten any better this year, so I expect the numbers to be even higher," said Burton.
The pantry is open for three hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where the needy line up along the building.
"Last week we served 821 families, so we are serving about 400 families each day we are open," said Burton.
"If it wasn't for this place I wouldn't have anything," said food recipient Kristi Green.
Green is so grateful for the food pantry that she also volunteers there.
"I told them y'all help so many people and there is so many people that need it," said Green. "That's the least thing that I can do is come up here and help someone else get a food basket and help them pass it out. If it helps just bring people in to donate the food."
Donations are needed year round and especially during the holidays, while they do accept food they say monetary donations go a lot further.
"If you go to Wal-Mart, buy me a jar of peanut butter for instance, we'll give that out absolutely, thank you," said Burton. "If you were to give me that $3.96 I can buy two cases of peanut butter."
If you would like to donate or volunteer visit: http://downtownfoodpantry.org/Home.html