Update on HOPE’s Food Pantry – July 13, 2014
Did you know almost 1 million people in the Delaware Valley live in poverty and experience hunger every day, many of them children? HOPE Church currently helps 36 local families (that’s nearly 165 people) put some much-needed food on their tables each week. Many of these folks are struggling with unemployment or underemployment. Some are senior citizens, and others have challenging disabilities. All have need.
As the pantry blesses others, it has also been blessed. A recent grant from the South Jersey Food Bank enabled HOPE’s Pantry to purchase additional food and supplies for our families. The pantry also receives a variety of support from other ministry areas throughout the year. For example, members of HOPE’s M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) and HOPE’s Family Ministry help the pantry at times with more specific needs such as baby supplies and children’s clothing. At Christmastime, HOPE’s Family Ministry donated Christmas stockings filled with toys for each of our families. Our friends, the employees at the Voorhees Target, also collected toys for our families under a Christmas tree they placed in their employee lounge. Additional blessings were realized when a Berlin-Sicklerville-based community group, whose members church with us, purchased Christmas gifts. An Overeaters Anonymous support group, which meets weekly here at HOPE, donated school supplies last fall. And, last year, HOPE’s Food Pantry also received a $250 grant from the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club, with the students at the Voorhees Middle School chipping in as well. Each week, a woman donates tons of fresh bread anonymously. And, we’re excited to report our neighbors at the Voorhees Acme Market will soon be helping HOPE’s Pantry with a food drive.
Since its inception in 2009, the pantry has been committed to the core value of treating all people with dignity, courtesy and respect. As HOPE volunteers meet and greet guests from the Soul Café counter each week, a healthy portion of encouraging words and love are very often dispensed along with the groceries. Sometimes help is given by pointing an individual to other available resources and programs. A woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer was able to share her story with a HOPE pantry volunteer familiar with the same struggle.
Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the county, or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different. “Some clients tell us they feel a sense of shame,” pantry co-founder and volunteer Liz Evans said. “The truth of the matter is that this could happen to any one of us.”
If you are so led, please consider bringing an item to donate. Here is what we could put to good use: juice; peanut butter; jelly; cereal; tuna; macaroni & cheese; fresh produce; old shopping bags; paper products; and cleaning supplies. Gift cards, checks and cash are also gratefully accepted.
For additional information, please email HOPE’s Food Pantry coordinator, Traci Davis at Food@MeetHope.org.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.
Filed Under: Sunday Bulletin Articles