Food Pantry Hours
We are open every Tuesday, except holidays, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to serve those in the community in need of food. In the case of inclement weather, if county schools close we do as well.
They cOME and the Lord provides
On most Tuesday mornings, we are inundated before we have time to open the door The staircase is lined well before 9 am, and a steady stream or clients continues for the rest of the morning.
The food pantry is associated with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and we typically serve around 50 households representing about 150 individuals each week. Some have never been to the Pantry before. Fortunately, our shelves are fully stocked and especially in the summer, multiple buckets line the hallway with fresh produce. By noon, buckets and shelves were almost bare. Which is good!
Meet our clients
Many are grandparents caring for grandchildren. Many have serious infirmities or are caring for someone who does. It’s unfortunately obvious that some have been caught up in the opioid crisis. A woman with two young children said her electric service was about to be turned off because she couldn’t pay the bill. Another had a very sick mother, a husband who was in the hospital recovering from surgery, and she herself was suffering from a badly infected tooth. Many with obvious physical ailments can barely make it up and down the stairs unaided. Most appear tired. We rarely hear expressions of bitterness or impatience or irritability—instead, we hear repeated gratitude. Several give us a hug and a kiss.
We are getting to know so many who benefit from this ministry, yet we are the ones being ministered to!
It’s a community effort
Another note about how our greater community has joined us: A retired couple from another church comes monthly to assist. A former parishioner comes when he can to lend a helping hand. A family with four young children helps regularly with offloading new stock. One watermelon per child X 4 X 4 trips make a sizable dent in offloading.
Immediate needs of Emmanuel’s Table
a. Tuesday workers. There are typically four of us working Tuesdays. A person designated as greeter (plus general problem solver and go-fer) is a necessity to help streamline the day and more importantly to have the time to “come alongside” our guests most of whom respond readily to someone who has time to listen. The others help clients to get food along with other general duties.
b. Unloading and repackaging help. Typically unloading the week’s haul is timed to coincide with the end of Monday’s Bible study at 3 p.m. with most who stay on cheerfully unpacking, repackaging and restocking shelves. But more hands would make the work lighter. We can always use another set of hands.
a. Money for food. Our best source for food remains the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Everything they offer is far less expensive than big box retail, often only a few cents a case. For example, 8 jars of 48 oz. cinnamon applesauce cost $1.30. Spicy breaded chicken filets cost $1.66 for six 5 pound bags. There are often unusual and fun offerings too, like twelve 17.6 oz jars of salsa for 65 cents. The costliest items such as cereal, are still a bargain at $1.00 for a large box. All fresh produce is given to us at no cost. However, because they also rely on donations, BRAFB’s offerings are haphazard and often limited. You probably remember when they didn’t offer cereal for months.
b. Other items. When they are able, Family Promise donates toilet paper. After being approached by a congregant, a local dentist donated several boxes of toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. Often congregants drop off assorted food items, tote bags, and other useful items. These are all invaluable.
c. Gardens’ bounty. Bring it on! Delivering your produce around 3pm Monday or before 9am Tuesday would be ideal. But whatever you can whenever you can would be much appreciated. Be sure to let us know if we can pick it up.
3. Remember this is our lord’s table
a. Talk to God about those who come to the pantry, about those who serve in the pantry, about the needs aforementioned.
b. Be God’s hands and feet. It’s our privilege and honor to serve God in this way.
c. Thank God. We attest to God’s faithfulness in all aspects of Emmanuel’s Table, especially Tuesdays. God has promised and been faithful.
The number of people served has risen steadily since the pantry opened in summer 2017. Clients are invited to come to church and participate in other parish activities, such as our Thanksgiving meal.