The Hope Center could use a little help.

The Hope Center could use a little help.
The Bowling Green food pantry has seen a steady rise in requests for assistance in the last year, and there’s no end in sight.
“The need is there,” said Barb Henderson, a volunteer who has coordinated food and cash donations for 11 of the center’s 15 years. “I don’t see where it’s going to be stopping.”
The center, at the corner of Church and North Court on the Bowling Green square, provides food to needy Pike County families.
Recipients are allowed to visit once a month. The center is open from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
In the last two years, the number of people served has more than doubled. In the last 12 months alone, the numbers have climbed from 500 to more than 800 families.
“I can guarantee it’ll be more than that this month,” Henderson said.
The recent announcement by Holcim Inc. to shut down its cement plant at Clarksville and put 181 people out of work doesn’t bode well for the year ahead, Henderson said. The layoffs are scheduled for the first three months of 2009.
People are generous with contributions around the holidays, but after the first of the year donations will likely take a nosedive.
“People will still be coming in,” Henderson said. “We’ll still need donations. We’ll take anything we can get.”
The center also could use more volunteers. There are about 30 now. and four to six are needed for each distribution.
“Some of them are older, but can’t give it up because they know we’re short-handed,” Henderson said.
People who would like to donate canned or boxed food, personal care products or cleaning supplies may do so during distribution hours.
Monetary donations may be sent to The Hope Center, P.O. Box 4, Bowling Green, Mo., 63334.