Today (a Friday) I dropped by to help organize items for the Food Pantry. Perhaps like many of you, I’m aware of the Pantry, have donated money to it, and brought turkeys prior to Thanksgiving, but I have not been very aware of how much “process” there is in running it. Today there had been a delivery of many pallets of “odd lots.” That is, mixed boxes of soups, oatmeal, cereal, vegetables, etc. etc.
When I arrived in Room 16 (on the office hallway), people were doing the sorting of the different items into “single category” boxes. The boxes were then loaded onto a trolley and rolled down to Room 2 (behind the kitchen). That room serves as the “pantry for the Pantry” and I’ve included some photos here. Cabinets hold the sorted items so that on a Pantry day they can be moved back to the distribution room (Room 16) for shopping by our clients. If all this motion of food sounds a bit inefficient, it is! But given the space we have available, this is how it works.
You’ve probably heard that we now have a “full choice” pantry, where, for example, clients can choose which vegetable from a selection of several they would like to have, or have a choice of brown or white rice, or which kind of cereal.
I also learned something I had never understood about the “item of the month” you may hear about in the Bulletin or Disciple. These are requested specifically because they are in high demand by our clients, but hard to get through the food bank. So this is one of those times where giving a particular item has value beyond just the dollar value of the item. From now on I will pay better attention! October was dried beans (always desired, by the way) and November is macaroni and cheese.