By Maureen McNair
My main goal for our church’s South Bay Food Pantry is for it to go out of business because no one needs our services any longer. Along those lines, I have bad news and good news to share. The bad news is last Saturday, we had our biggest food distribution to date. We provided food to 206 households — mostly families and seniors. The good news is we were there to alleviate their food insecurity. The members and friends of this congregation are so consistently generous, we have never had to turn away anyone without giving them food. We distributed over a ton of fresh produce, plus chicken, eggs, frozen meals, dry goods, and bread. And, through the generosity of a one-time donation from a community groups, we were also able to give away often-requested adult diapers and at-home covid tests.
Through your generosity, we also gave out several dozen grocery store gift cards. One of our volunteers created hand-made greeting cards. We included good wishes in English and Spanish with the gift cards. I know these grocery store gift cards will help the recipients over a hump. Gift cards also give the gift of allowing people the dignity to choose what food they will eat.
Our pantry clients are incredibly grateful to our volunteers. They spontaneously hug us (I know, covid!), tell us they love us, thank us, and sometimes give us gifts of homemade bean burritos. Last Saturday, one woman gave us little drug store candies and a lovely speech about how grateful she is for our services and how kind we always are to her. And, now that the Sunday worship team has started to livestream services on Sunday instead of pre-recording them on Saturdays, a minister is at the food distribution too. Our new Assistant Minister Omega Burckhardt has been with us greeting community members for a few Saturdays in a row now. The pantry volunteers have built exceptional community relationships under the daunting restrictions of the pandemic. (I look forward to the days when I can say, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you with your mask off!”) But, for now, I am really excited Rev. Omega can be on-site to meet and speak with people who seek a spiritual connection to our congregation as well.
The coincidence of how days fall on the calendar is closing the pantry for two weeks. We will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day because both of the major regional food banks are closed too. We will continue diaper distribution, however, on every Sunday without interruption. Food distribution will resume Saturday, January 8. Thank you all so much for your kindness to the pantry. Happy holidays!
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