Food totaling three tons was delivered March 22 to the United Christian Church Services Food Pantry by members of Huntsville United Methodist Church (HUMC). Church members collected cans and non-perishable food items during the Lenten season.
“Instead of giving something up like chocolate for Lent, members brought food every Sunday,” said Erica Richter, project chair. “One Sunday we challenged members not to buy groceries for a week and donate to the food drive.” The effort resulted in donations of more than $6,000, which were given to the food pantry and Our Daily Bread this year.
The food pantry, located in the Russells Point Municipal Building, is staffed by volunteers who give out boxes of food to low income residents of the Indian Lake School District three Thursday afternoons a month.
“It takes 80 volunteer hours a month to pick up, sort and distribute food to 175-190 families who draw from the pantry once a month,” said Pantry President Eric Brandes. He said the pantry is always looking for volunteers. “Show up between 12 noon and 3 p.m. on the second, third, or fourth Thursday of the month and we’ll put you to work,” he added.
Huntsville United Methodist Church is one of six churches involved with the pantry since 2000. Before that, a small group of Indian Lake residents, organized by Edith Early in 1990, gave out food from the basement of Trinity Methodist Church in Lakeview. Now, more than 30 businesses and community groups donate food items and supplies to the pantry. Weekly, a van is borrowed from a local business is used to pick up food from Second Harvest, a multi-county coordinating organization.
According to HUMC Pastor Bryan Meadows, food is stacked on the church’s stage during Lent. Two trucks and several cars filled with food and volunteers of all ages brought the food to the pantry. Pantry volunteers, including octogenarian Don Thompson, helped carry the food inside. An hour later, when the food was unloaded, church members left to deliver food to Our Daily Bread. Pantry volunteers stayed to sort shelve food, ready for distribution on Thursday.
Judy Wherry is a regular contributor to this newspaper.