Caney Valley Food Pantry

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors

In February of 2019, the Caney Valley Food Pantry is celebrating its first year of operation!  Here is our story…

Just to the north of Oklahoma/Kansas border lies Caney, KS—the center of Kansas United School District #436.  The district is comprised rural ranch and farm land in southwest Montgomery and southeast Chautauqua Counties dotted with small communities.

Montgomery County is in the bottom 10% in Kansas county health rankings, Chautauqua County is not far behind.

The latest Census Bureau data indicates the poverty rate is over 18% in this area of Kansas, which is 50% higher than the Kansas average.

Caney is designated as a USDA “food desert”—poor access to healthy, affordable food--as the nearest grocery store is more than 20 miles away.

The Caney Valley Food Pantry began operations in Feb. of 2018, spearheaded by Kim Bright of Caney, KS and the Caney Community Betterment Group. Though centered in Caney, KS, the pantry serves the entire USD 436 school district of southwest Montgomery and southeast Chautauqua counties in a unique way. 

To address the special challenge of rural hunger, the pantry’s volunteer network delivers ~ 70% of its food goods directly to its rural communities or directly into the homes of those in need who lack transportation.

Original Services:

Monthly food boxes for the elderly and disabled households with low incomes, averaging at the poverty level (~$1000 gross income per month for a single person).

Emergency boxes for those in sudden distress.

Distribution of large quantities of free excess produce one to five times a month as provided by the Catholic Charities Mary Martha Organization, which strives to be good stewards of the excess food goods from the area’s Walmart Distribution Center. 

Angel tree food boxes for low income families at Christmas time.

We Have Grown:

Initiated a school produce backpack distribution to 108 reduced lunch program students in conjunction with the Caney Valley High School Food and Consumer Class.

Increased our outreach from ~680 recipients for produce, now up to 1400 in the USD 436 area.

Increased food box distribution from 44 in Feb 2018 to 62 in January 2019. 

Provide food to 3 community meal programs targeting low income families.

Initiated distribution of our excess produce to other area food pantries serving over 700 low income persons in Independence, Coffeyville, Cherryvale, Sedan, Neodesha, and recently Dearing.