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Food pantry in Burlington struggling to keep food on its shelves

BURLINGTON, Iowa-- It's the first of the month, which means mom Michele Hengl is counting down the minutes until St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry at St. John's Catholic Church Divine Mercy opens.

"This place has put food in my stomach for ten years, so it's been a saving grace," says Hengl.

Today families come in and see shelves fully stocked.

But take a walk down the storage isle, and things look a lot different.

"Empty. I haven't seen it this empty ever, and I've been here for 18 years," says pantry president Jim Wade.

The place that gives so much is counting on full hearts to transform these empty shelves so they can continue to feed the ones who need it.

"If they're hungry, we feed them. That's our mission," says Wade.

The pantry serves about 30 people a day Monday thru Friday, and they can't afford to stop.

"It's very important. Without these guys, my family wouldn't be fed," says Hengl.

"You wonder what you're going to do when people come in and they're hungry. If we don't have food, we're hurting," says Wade.

Donations are already coming in, but they need all the help they can get. They have families counting on them.

Organizers say donation cash is also an option. They are also short on hygiene products like soap, paper towels, and shampoo.

You can drop off donations at the pantry at 700 Division Street, Burlington, Iowa. Or you can call them and they will pick them up. The number is (319) 752-6733.