Often, volunteering in our food pantry is not glamorous. There is a lot of time spent waiting. Waiting, not knowing who woke up hungry today and will decide that they need help. Waiting, not knowing how many people will arrive in our food pantry with a voucher or when they will appear. Waiting, ready to help.
But then someone does arrive. It’s a family of one and then a family of five and a family of three in rapid succession. Food is bagged, carts filled, and the families leave, grateful for the help. Usage of our food pantry and all of the pantries in the Emergency Food Pantry Consortium is up in comparison to previous years.
Then there’s a knock at the back door and one of our volunteers is there with the latest food delivery from Tri-State Food Bank. There is a burst of activity as the pickup truck is unloaded and the food is stored away safely. We’re grateful for our drivers’ dedication. They pick up our food on Mondays and Wednesdays, week after week, in rain and snow and ice and heat.
We’re losing a couple of our long-term delivery drivers: Darrell Megli and Bill Schmidt have both decided it’s time to retire. We are thankful for all their years of service (so many years that no one remembers exactly how many there have been). Luckily for us, there are new volunteers who have stepped up to take their places.
While a food voucher is required in order for someone to receive a full food order, there are some items available to anyone in need. We keep our bread rack and fresh produce area stocked for anyone to take what they can use.
Visitors can also request dog or cat food for their pets, thanks to the Tuly Fund which was created in memory of one of Patchwork’s beloved canine neighbors. The pet food makes it so our neighbors don’t have to choose between feeding their pets or feeding themselves. Additional donations of pet food or money are always welcome.
There are also pastries available if someone asks. Sometimes they’re perfect for special occasions, like last week when a woman came in and asked for a cake because it was her birthday. Shawn found an appropriate cake in the food pantry and presented it to the woman while singing happy birthday. The woman said she was going to take the cake home and would put 53 candles on it for herself.