Our food pantry is the longest running mission of our church having begun approximately 30 years ago. It was originally opened in 1987 with the collaboration of 5 area churches. The churches oversaw the running of the pantry until it became a part of Loaves and Fishes of Mecklenburg County in 1995. We are now 1 of 23 pantries that distribute food to families in need of groceries in the county and notably 1 of only 2 north of Interstate 85.
In the beginning our pantry was open on Tuesdays and Thursdays but we have expanded over the years and are now open every Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. This means we are open and serving clients over 200 days of each calendar year. In 2003 when we were open just two days a week, we served 386 families which totaled 1363 clients. We had expanded to being open 4 days a week before moving to our new facility and during the height of the recession in 2010 we served 3003 families and just over 10,000 clients that year. In 2016, 1612 families visited our pantry and we fed 4777 clients.
We do not advertise or solicit the families that come to us for assistance. An adult must obtain a referral from an approved agency before receiving food. Clients can obtain a referral 8 times in a calendar year. They may then visit the designated pantry and receive enough food for their family for a week. A registered dietitian came up with the current quantities that each family is allowed in each food group. Items clients chose from include breads, cereal, boxed and canned pasta, crackers, muffin mix, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, fruit, fruit juice, beans, soups, eggs, margarine and meat.
Without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers the pantry could not remain open. At present we have a total of 80 volunteers. These volunteers are a diverse group. Half of them are HUMC members and half come from within the community. We have longtime volunteers of 20 + years and volunteers who just began their service within the past few weeks.
These are the individuals who volunteered a collective 7032 hours in 2016 to unload, sort, date check, and stock over 200,000 pounds of food. They also sign in our clients, help them shop, visit with them while they wait and help them to their cars with their food once they are finished. They do this with smiles on their faces and a genuine desire to help someone in need. Our end goal is to make the lives of our clients a little easier by helping put food on the table for their families. We are attempting to follow the words of Christ found in Matthew 25:35, “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
We do our very best not to let food or any donated item go to waste. We provide food items for our own “Not Here Ministries,” “Angels and Sparrows” soup kitchen, First United Methodist Church in downtown Charlotte Sunday morning coffee ministry, and First Baptist Church Huntersville Saturday morning breakfast in the summer months. We also support the Women’s Shelter downtown and the Lake Norman Free Clinic by sharing donated items.
You are welcome to drop in anytime we are open and see us in operation. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity contact the church office. They will put you in touch with one of the Food Pantry coordinators.
For the latest news: January 2018 News