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PATH needs donations to feed the hungry

Organizers of York’s PATH are hoping they receive enough food and cash donations this holiday season to carry the organization into the new year.

November and December mark the season of plenty for charitable groups like PATH, or People Attempting to Help, which serves needy families in the York school district.

Those donations are crucial, because the agency’s food resources ran low in September and October, said Cheri Curtin, executive director of PATH.

“We are seeing a very large number of brand new, first-time clients,” Curtin said. Although local layoffs and business closings have resulted in waves of new clients in the past, Curtin said she doesn’t know any reason for the surge.

Curtin said the agency helped 3,000 families, or almost 7,400 individuals, with food donations during 2013. It also provided about 1,300 families with some financial assistance.

PATH offers financial assistance to qualifying households three to four times a year to pay for needs such as electricity, gas, water, prescription drug medication or rent.

During 2014, Curtin said, demand for assistance has held steady. In the first 10 months of 2014, she said, the agency helped about 2,400 families with food donations and 1,218 families with financial assistance.

Curtin said donations typically happen during the school year and drop off in the summer, then pick up during the holiday season.

“We still need food. It’s like a drought,” she said. “We are having rain now. But we still need to get out of the drought.”

She also said the agency needs financial donations, which are used to help clients with emergency needs. Half of all the financial assistance PATH offers goes toward helping people pay their electric bills, she said.

“That’s the lion that eats everyone’s lunch,” she said.

Curtin said the agency also is in need of someone who could volunteer a day about once every two months and who has a large vehicle to pick up USDA food pallets from Second Harvest food bank in north Charlotte. The vehicle needs to be able to carry four to six tons, she said.