The Beacon gives update, accepts gift

During a recent Chamber Coffee event, Fort Scott’s local food pantry of more than 30 years gave an update on their services as well as their current needs.

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“We try to face the fact that we have poverty in Bourbon County and Fort Scott,” said Bob Eckles of the Beacon, saying they confront that fact with the help of volunteers and donations from the community. “We have a lot of people that we help.”

Eckles said the Beacon helps about 19 families a day and thousands of individuals each year, adding that about 15 percent of Fort Scott residents have come to the Beacon for help, including the elderly, disabled, and the working poor.

Those eligible for assistance receive food cards that allow families to come twice a month to collect groceries, donated by people and businesses in the community. Clothing is also available.

The Beacon often has an excess of clothing that they have to spend time sorting, but Eckles said they are always accepting food items and monetary gifts, such as a check presented by Ralph Reed and the Fort Scott Pioneer Kiwanis Thursday. But Eckles said their greatest need is for more volunteers.

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“In the old days, we used to have an army of volunteers,” Eckles said. “It gives you a good feeling and you’re helping people out.”

Those volunteers could help sort clothing into usable items and those they will not accept as well as by size and then put them on display. Eckles encourages volunteers to pair up or volunteer in teams and schedule times they could help.

Current volunteers and donations often come from church groups or businesses and other organizations such as the Young Professionals League, Wal-Mart and Ward/Kraft, Inc.

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