“The poverty and those in need is so big that we can't do it alone,” she said.
Lovell noted that since she has been with the food bank, for about eight years, “the numbers keep going up.”
When she first started, the FUMC food bank fed 800 people a year, but in recent years the numbers have risen to just under 3,000 per year.
“With BackPack Buddies, we're feeding 165 kids a week, give or take,” she said, adding they fed 50 kids when the program started and said the need may have been there from the beginning.
Lovell said this rise in customers is the case at other food pantries, including First Christian Church.
“We're not looking at how can we teach these people – help those learn how to help themselves,” she said. “We need to look a little deeper and it's a tougher thing.
“It's easy to say, 'Here's your food, God bless you.' It's really tough to sit down and go, 'Ok, what's going on. How can we help? What can we do?'”
She said the solutions could vary from helping a veteran get on the programs that can help them to teaching an individual job skills, including “how to hold a job or a computer class.”
Lovell said she has a teacher willing to teach evening computer classes.
“But we need computers now and we need the students,” she said. “We need to go to the food banks and talk to the people and build a relationship with them, get them to help work in the garden, get them to come to these classes. But it takes so many people and so much time. I think that's what we've done the most is try to get all these things going. We need help.”