An offshoot of our Little Free Pantry and our LEAD Team’s emphasis on neighborhood partnerships, this program began operations during the state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the most recent report of this drive-through and walk-up feeding program supported by a number of neighborhood partners, serving out of our parking lot Tuesday and Saturday from 10 am until 12 pm.
Report Week 19 and 20 Immanuel Food Distribution: July 25 – August 4
This marks the twentieth week of our food distribution ministry. When we first began back on March 22, I had entered distribution dates until June 1 on my cell phone calendar, thinking this was only a temporary need. The end date on my phone calendar extended then until August 31. Surely by the end of the summer things will be so much better. Today those dates are on my calendar indefinitely. With the relentless pandemic and its economic impacts, it’s hard to say what God has in store for us as a ministry for the future. For now, we’ll continue to serve, blessed by the generosity of others to keep this food distribution going.
Brenda, Pete, and I again extend our sincere thanks to the volunteers who worked during this reporting period: Jeanne Swain, Carol Miller, Karen Haines, Heidi Hess, Doug Myers, Rhonda Kiler, Patt Hentz, Rachel Murphy, Wendy Maloney, Terri Rill, Jo Fleck, and Angie, Ashton, and Tanner Eckhardt. A special thank you goes to our new volunteers during these past two weeks: Yvonne Vandergucht, Debbie Bowdoin, Eric Wolff (Scout Troop 320), Eric’s mother Chris Wolfe, Eli Lawrence (Scout Troop 320), and Eli’s father Justin Lawrence. Yvonne, Eric, Chris, Eli, and Justin distributed food, Their help was especially appreciated as they bagged corn and helped in other ways with prep, and pitched in to handle the initial rush during the first 30 minutes, while Deb worked hard in the pantry organizing and packing food.
Weather was a factor these two weeks. The pantry rooms typically maintain a temperature of 86-88 degrees, even when the ceiling fan and a floor fan are on and doors and windows are open. We’ve just passed the midpoint of summer so quite a few hot days are ahead of us. The oppressive heat makes it difficult to keep bread and bread products fresh. We’ve always prided ourselves in not throwing away bread or any food unless it’s obviously overripe produce. Last week however we had to discard several moldy loaves of bread. We have bread and rolls donated from Weis Market – given directly to us and also passed along via Tree of Friends. We always used the oldest products first, but this was the first time bread was thrown away. Weather impacted us also with Tropical Storm Isaias. Before the storm we worried about whether we should cancel; and wondered what we would do if the power was out for an extended period of time. We ended up distributing food on the day of the storm. Using the back door of the education building and shielded by the small red awning, we kept our ministry going. Using just a few of the volunteers signed up for that day, we simplified our distribution by giving only a food bag, hot dogs eggs, milk, and produce. The 25 people who came that day were surprised that we were open and grateful for the food. The Humane Society postponed their distribution of pet food and supplies until next Tuesday.
We sincerely appreciate those who have made monetary and food donations these past two weeks. We have been able to buy milk and food items needed without worrying about turning people away. Thank you, thank you!
|Food Distributed||Week 19: July 25-28||Week 20: August 1-4|
|Milk||69 half gallons||63 half gallons|
|Bread and rolls||120||90|
|Eggs||81 dozen||63 dozen|
|Cheese (1 lb. offered as alternative to meat)||10 lbs.||———–|
|Mixed produce/cantaloupes/pineapples||61 bags||68 bags|
|Corn on the cob (bags of 8)||33 bags (8 per bag)||37 bags (6 per bag)|
|Chicken tenders (12 oz pack)||34 packs||31 packs|
|Frozen hamburgers (4 pack)||14 packs||————|
|Frozen ground beef (1 lb. roll)||4||————|
|Hot dog meals (hot dogs, rolls, baked beans)||27||32|
|Paper products (paper towels, toilet paper)||53||6|
The line for food is often out to York St. by 9:45am, necessitating an early start. We set a record last Saturday with our extra help from scouts and parents by serving 26 people in 20 minutes. There are always new people each distribution period. A woman lost her job two weeks ago and needed food to feed her family. She found out about us through a friend. Others see our signs or hear about us from a family member. Some seem uncomfortable about their situation and find it difficult to share how they came to us. So often people just say, “Please, just give me whatever you can.” We welcome them into our circle of caring with food and encouragement, and with a smile, even if hidden by a mask. They in turn encourage us to continue God’s work. Relationships are forged all around – among the pantry and distribution workers, with donors who faithfully contribute, with the people we serve. May God continue to strengthen us in this journey.