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Food pantries waiving rules to aid military kin

CEDAR CITY — Food pantries in southwestern Utah have waived recipients' normal income qualifications for military dependents.

"The enlisted soldiers have taken a cut in pay to serve their country, forcing some of their families to move back in with their families while they are away," said Nancy Dalton, executive director of the Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce, which is co-sponsoring a food drive in Iron County. "We need to support these families."

Ralph Flanagan, executive director of Dixie Care and Share, said he decided to waive the requirements for military families after watching a television news report.

"I saw a lieutenant who was a construction supervisor back East," he said. "He was called up. His wife is a flight attendant. She's pregnant. They lost 60 percent of their income in one fell swoop.

"It occurred to me that we could have people in the same situation," he said.

Veronica Garner-Wilson, who heads an Iron County food bank, said she has no idea how many military families will need assistance, "but we're here to support the families of those in the military."

"We know they've got bigger things to think about right now so we hope to make things better by providing them with food resources," she said.