Thursday, April 4, 2019

[AtoZ] Dorcus Food Pantry

A little bit ago someone in a comment said I should do a food pantry update post. And...I thought that was a great idea!

For yall that are just coming round. I started donating to the local food pantry back in January 2018 because of couponing and then started volunteering in February. It's right up the road from my house and I have a standing Wednesday sift.

So today I'm going to tell yall about the pantry and what all I do.

It's a pretty interesting place. It's not just a food pantry but a crisis ministries. They offer all kinds of services. Food pantry, help with resumes/job search, money for education/childcare, emergency housing, sewing help, cooking classes, etc

The food pantry itself is where I volunteer. It's set up like a mini grocery store complete with grocery carts. People make appointments and then come in to do a monthly shopping trip for supplies.

There are two types of "shoppers". Those that are in the program already-- they can do a full shop of the 'store' once a month. And then emergency shoppers. These are people that have applications pending. They get a set bag of groceries that will cover them for 2-3 days while they're "pending" then they can come in and do a full grocery trip.

Each aisle is set up with colored numbers which tell clients how many of each item they can pick from that particular shelf. It's based on how many people are in their family. 

There's canned and boxed foods. But also frozen meats and veggies, milk/eggs/cheese and some fresh produce depending on what's been delivered/donated as well as a bakery section. Panera and La Farm bakeries both donate multiple times a week. They also have a cleaning/personal hygiene section.

Almost everything is donated by local companies, church groups and individuals. The ministry does buy some items like milk, cheese, eggs and on occasion produce.

It's been interesting so far. I work with the same guy each week and we get along. He seems to be a good guy and is pretty laid back with things.

The people coming in to use the services have been varied. Some singles, some families. Some starting over in life again, some who suffered job losses or fires or have just gotten out of prison or rehab. Most have been incredibly nice. Very thankful and polite and friendly. Some very embarrassed and hesitant to take anything which is hard to see but understandable. We do our best to make everyone comfortable and know they aren't being judged. Some do their shopping on their own and others we'll walk around with and visit, encourage them to take their full amount instead of only taking one can of something. Many don't want to seem greedy taking 2 cans of something and will only take one until we "make em" I totally channel my inner Italian granny and am like 2 cans. You'll take 2 cans. We expect you to take 2 cans. Eat! lol

It's been a smidge over a year since I started and overall I'm happy to be there. We do a lot of donation sorting and helping people shop, answering questions and such. I've taught a number of couponing classes as well which was awesome. It's not always easy and can make me sad sometimes but most of the time it's a good experience. It's wonderful seeing someone who's been down on their luck tell you excitedly that they got their new job and start on Monday! or that they're doing this awesome training program and will have a job soon. All in all, I'm glad I signed up and got involved.

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