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Higher Demand has Cat and Pup Food Backpack Programs Facing Food, Funding Shortage

Higher Demand has Cat and Pup Food Backpack Programs Facing Food, Funding Shortage
(Miller/KNEB/RRN)

Volunteers running the Cat and Pup Pack backpack food programs are in a situation they’ve never encountered before

According to Missy Iasillo, Cat Pack Coordinator, the food insecurity program only has enough funding to continue operations through December, the first time she’s encountered the situation since she took over the post five years ago.

Iasillo tells KNEB News demand for the program and its services are at an all-time high for this time of year. “Typically, our numbers start out slower at the beginning of the (school) year, and they build up to the numbers we started with this year,” says Iasillo. “Last year we ended about 140, but usually in Scottsbluff we start out at 50 or 60 and they inch their way up. First week out we were at 140 (for Scottsbluff), and Gering is currently at about 80.

Once a week, the program distributes food to children for the weekend a cost of about $5 per package, and Iasillo says even at its current level, it doesn’t reach every household that may be facing food insecurity.

To help the program remain stable and in operation, a GoFundMe page for the programs has been set up by two entities of the Holliday Family of Companies, a ‘spirit towel’ fundraiser takes place at the first playoff game involving Scottsbluff next week and Fresh Foods is offering peanut butter for 99 cents that people can donate.

Fundraisers for the food programs are taking place this weekend at local pumpkin patches. At the Adams Family Pumpkin Patch near Scottsbluff, admission is half off this weekend with a food donation, and at The Pumpkin Patch at BEFarms north of Bayard you can smash  pumpkins in their smashing area by donating one non-perishable food item or $1.

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