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Orange County Focus

HUNTINGTON BEACH : Senior Center Seeks Donations of Food

August 16, 1994|DEBRA CANO

The food pantry is almost bare.

And donations are needed to stock up on the emergency food supply at the Senior Outreach Center on Orange Avenue.

"We give to the elderly who are short on money after paying their bills," said Betsy Crimi, human services coordinator at the Senior Outreach Center, which offers the service for low-income senior citizens.

A key source for the center's food bank are donations from schools, but because schools are shut for the summer, the food supply is running short.

Crimi said the center will coordinate canned food drives in September with students at Ethel Dwyer Middle School.

Gifts of protein-based items, such as chunky soups and peanut butter, are the most sought after.

In addition, the center can use canned fruits and vegetables, Jell-O and crackers.

Cereal, rice and dry beans are also needed.

Crimi, who coordinates services for frail and elderly people, said that many seniors live on tight budgets and need the food to make ends meet.

"It really tides people over. It gives them the relief they need until their next check comes in," Crimi said. "They appreciate it and are very grateful to have a pantry available to them.

"The majority of people receiving emergency food are on our caseload, and we see them on a weekly or monthly basis," Crimi said, adding that some 15 seniors regularly use the emergency food service each month.

Then there are other low-income seniors who just drop by occasionally when they need a few extra groceries.

"We keep it rather low key, and we want to make sure the persons are really in need," she said. "The system hasn't been abused."

The Senior Outreach Center, 1718 Orange Ave., is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about donating food, call (714) 374-1518.

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