LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville food pantry is experiencing an “element of panic” following a slower-than-expected donation season.

House of Ruth is a non-profit organization that provides resources to 350 people each month who are living with HIV or AIDS. On Monday, the tables where the food is packed sat empty. The majority of the pantry’s three refrigerators have nothing but a few packages of carrots inside.

Fall is usually the time of year where pantries see an increase of donations since school is back in session, and the holidays get closer. However, this year is different.

“We just haven’t seen that uptick that we are used to, so it’s putting our House of Ruth clients in a bind,” said Lisa Sutton, Executive Director of House of Ruth.

House of Ruth provides clients with TARC bus tickets, utility and rent assistance, and food vouchers.

Previously, clients would often go to the nearest grocery store just a few blocks away: the now-former Kroger located on Second Street. The store’s closing last January helped solidify the area now known as a “food desert” for those who can’t get around with their own transportation.

“They are not going to make the trip to grocery stores that are in east Louisville or even the south side,” Sutton said.

Many of House of Ruth’s clients have high medical and prescription bills, so any assistance with food costs is greatly appreciated.

The pantry is partnered with Dare to Care, Louisville’s community food bank. A set amount of food is distributed by the bank monthly to each organization.

“We are here to do everything we can to make sure our partners can serve the people that are relying on them to make ends meet,” said Stan Siegwald of Dare to Care. Siegwald said the food bank will be working with House of Ruth in an extra capacity to help them get the food they need.

House of Ruth is looking for toiletries and non-perishable food items including:

  • Canned meats
  • Canned stews and hearty soups
  • Peanut butter
  • Meats and proteins

Donations can be dropped off at 607 East St. Catherine Street in Louisville during regular business hours of 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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