Thousands of people in 10 states have been left in the lurch, many with their cupboards bare and their wallets empty.
This is after Food Share America canceled its latest distribution of discount groceries and all future orders as well. Food Share America, based out of Pueblo, serves communities in Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
The food ministry filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the bank told them they would not float them any more credit. Already neck deep in debt, the organization saw no other choice. According to company President, Bill McKnight, FSA has more than $100,000 in bounced checks. He showed KKTV two days worth of checks that totaled more than $1,000 from this week alone.
Food Share America took over the discount food operation from Catholic Charities two years ago. At that time, McKnight says it was struggling. "They were losing over $100,000 a month and we thought we could turn it around," said McKnight. He and his wife have already sunk more than $300,000 of their own retirement into the the organization just trying to get it going again, but economic factors, declining participation, and stiff competition from national chains like Wal-Mart eventually overwhelmed them.
Now, thousands who have paid their bill in advance are wondering what will happen next. McKnight promises to get everyone who actually paid for their food their money back. However, the process is slow going. He has been trying to track down delinquent clients in order to pay back others. McKnight told KKTV, he traveled to eastern Oklahoma to visit a church that was once participated with FSA.
The church had been kicked out of the operation due to missing payments. McKnight says, he spoke with the churches pastor about the several thousands of dollars still owed FSA, and tells KKTV the pastor agreed to pay off the balance. McKnight said, the check has not arrived and he may have to return to the church and have another talk with the pastor.
Meanwhile, in Pueblo and other communities all over the south and west, people are waiting for their money. Many of them are seniors, on a fixed income. Ascension Episcopal Church in Pueblo was participating in FSA and has many clients who are homebound and are concerned for their welfare. "They gave their money to us two weeks ago, so they have no money and they have no food," said Carrie Smith, organizer in charge of the program at the church.
People in southern Colorado who are waiting for their money back still have access to food at the Care and Share mobile food pantries listed below.
Every 1st Friday
Praise Community Church
215 N Pikes Peak
Florence at 1:00 p.m.
Every 2nd Friday
Loaves & Fishes
241 Justice Center Drive
Canon City at 11:00 a.m.
Every 3rd Friday (Starting Up again in April)
Trinidad Mobile Food pantry- Open Door Soup Kitchen
At the County Fairgrounds at 11:00 a.m.
Every Last Friday
Ordway Mobile Food Pantry- River of Life Fellowship
218 W. 2nd Street, Ordway at 2:00 p.m.
Every 3rd Thursday
Church of the Redeemed
10900 County Rd 20.4
Kit Carson, Colorado at 2:00 p.m.
Every First Wednesday
Gunnison Food Pantry at the City
711 Main Street, Gunnison at Noon
Every 1st Thursday of the Month
505 3rd Street, Hugo
At 9:30 a.m.
Cheyenne Wells Fairgrounds
Right off the Hwy 40 & 385
At 11:30 a.m.