Fort Riley Elementary School recently held a food drive for Wheels of HOPE, the donations from which were sorted Friday morning. From left to right, Isan, Aniah, and Crystal Benavides check the dates on donated nonperishable food items at Wheels of HOPE during Friday’s special sorting.

Mobile food pantry Wheels of HOPE held a special sorting Friday morning after Fort Riley Elementary School donated

about 2,900 items through a recent food drive.

The mobile food pantry serves children and families in need within Unified School District 475, providing boxes of supplementary food to about 100 families once a month.

According to Kitchen Coordinator Carolyn Rose, Wheels of HOPE always needs such donations, especially of staple items such as canned corn, peas, green beans, baked beans, and fruit. Rice, dried beans, cereal and boxed macaroni and cheese are always welcome as well, she said.

“We just always appreciate donations of anything people want to give,” Rose said.

The well runs dry fast, even with food drives such as the one held by Fort Riley Elementary School.

“Just corn for instance,” Rose said, gesturing at shelves stacked with cans. “That’s 300 cans of corn.”

By the end of the January distribution, the shelves will once again be bare.

“It will be gone and then we just start over,” Rose said.

Wheels of HOPE distributes about 7,500 items each month.

In February, however, things will “get tighter,” she said.

With the holiday season over, food pantries across the country will start to receive fewer and fewer donations.

February, March and April are slow months, according to Rose. In May it picks back up a bit, but it won’t last long as people leave for summer vacations. Summers, Rose said, are always a slow time. This is doubly bad for the families local food pantries such as Wheels of HOPE serve, because with school out school lunches are no longer being served, she said.

“Summertime is by far the time they need it the worst,” Rose said.

But everything they receive helps, she said.

“It was great to have that food drive,” Rose said. “It really was.”

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