New drive-thru pantry serves the food insecure in Johnson County

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OLATHE, Kan. -- Kim Woodward of Gardner is resident of Johnson County with disabilities. She relies on food pantries often to help her family.

"It helps me as far as groceries," Woodward said. "I'm handicapped. I get food stamps, so it helps in my household too because it's in great need."

Now, a new drive-thru is making sure it's easy for families who need food to fill their pantries. The Olathe Family YMCA opened it's parking lot to help the food insecure.

"This is our first mobile food distribution," William Gormley, the Food & Nutrition Programs Vista for the Olathe Family YMCA, said. "Basically, cars come up and through our parking lot, and we'll fill their cars up with fresh produce."

Once a month, the community center will fill the cars of those in need. They are working with Harvesters, Humana, and After the Harvest to get the food to those who need it most.

"Johnson County has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the area, only behind Jackson County," Gormley said. "A lot of people consider Johnson County to be an affluent area, and so they actually don't realize that it has one of the highest rates of food insecurity."

One in six children in the metro area deal with food insecurity. Michael Williams-Seybert, 11, asked to come help his mom help those who need it -- some of them kids his own age.

"Giving out food it sounded really fun, but now that I'm here, it's really cool," Williams-Seybert said. "Seeing the similes on people's faces whenever you put the food in their car."

Michael says going through financial issues doesn't make any of the people he's helping different than him. Ultimately, he's helping the pantry pass out fresh produce to around 120 families.

"It's good to know that they'll have someplace to go if they're in a time of need," Williams-Seybert said. "Especially if they have children, to feed their children, and themselves."

The food pantry opens at 2:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. You do not have to be a member of the YMCA to benefit.

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