The Pantry here at Harvest has just been so good lately.
Two of us are still shopping with Birch Community Services on Monday. BCS is in a position where they are able to be incredibly generous with their member agencies right now. We have been getting so much food from them! From BCS we get some meat, some meals, dairy, bread, and lots of dry goods.
We are also receiving donations from congregation members – thank you! For those of you who are cleaning out cupboards right now and thinking of us, please know that we appreciate it dearly! For those who are buying ramen and peanut butter when you go to WinCo and donating the extra, thank you!
We are also receiving donations from other pantries – we have some relationships in the community. If these partners can’t move it as fast as they get it, they sometimes send it to us. Thanks to relationships built by one of our volunteers, we are getting TONS of dry goods. I’m not sure how many pounds are actually in a ton, but I might mean that literally!
Last but not least, thanks to relationships cultivated by another set of volunteers, we are getting fresh bread from a certain local bakery!
I have people asking me often what we need and all I can do is be grateful for all that we have! Praise the Lord. We had to expand into the youth group lounge in order to accommodate all of this!
That is the food we are bringing in, now let me tell you about the food we are sending out.
We have moved to doing a box and bag pickup format, which is very different from the shopping we used to have patrons do in our downstairs Pantry. Patrons don’t get much choice in their food for right now, which I lament. But we are able to continue operating by shifting to doing pickups out of the front doors. That’s what was most important to us.
This week, we made 31 portions of single bags and 25 portions of family boxes. We had some backup boxes of nonperishables ready to go too, and we used two of those for families.
A portion involves as many dry goods as we can fairly distribute, all of the cold stuff and produce we can get out the door, and a few kinds of bread. Single bags are made keeping in mind that several people are picking them up to go and cook over a campfire. The last two weeks we were additionally able to hand out hygiene and feminine hygiene kits. Praise God!
We have some families dropping by every few weeks and some coming every week. We have a group of houseless community members whose names we know well; we see many of those individuals each week. It’s great to be learning names, passing out Daily Bread bible study books as people ask for them, and being able to hear a little bit about what their families are up to.
We have one mom who remarked recently that coming to stand in line for a few minutes is such a refreshing time out of the house and away for the kids, it’s a moment of reprieve!
If you or someone you know is in need of food, the pantry is handing out boxes every Wednesday from 2-4 pm! If you are unable to drive and need a box delivered, please call the office at 503-492-9800 or email Faith Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I referred to earlier, I have lots of people who ask what we need.
Here’s some ideas:
- Pantry items, most specifically:
- Peanut butter
- Pasta sauce
- Dry rice and beans
- Any food in your pantries that you’re cleaning out!
- Gently used men’s pants in sizes 28, 30, 32, and 34
- New underwear and socks
Volunteer Needs! We have lots of things that people can do that are socially distant!
- Breaking down large bags of oats, trail mix, etc. into family sized portions
- Putting together nonperishable portions in boxes and bags
- Putting away donations
- Benevolence funds – we are low in this area, but we get a lot of requests. People can’t be evicted right now, but there are lots of people who don’t want to just owe $7000 in back rent to be evicted in six months.
Sincerely, thank you all for asking about the Pantry and our outreach department. The Lord has been so good. Be encouraged!
Director of Outreach