For the over 150 families that use the Flat River Outreach Ministries’ (FROM’s) Food Pantry each month, it’s about more than just a meal. Monica Light, FROM Client Services Coordinator, says the pantry not only provides healthy food for individuals and families and helps them make ends meet but “it exemplifies FROM’s desire to walk alongside our neighbors in need; it’s neighbors helping neighbors.”
Pantry participants shop the food pantry shelves monthly and can choose from a wide variety of healthy foods. Everyone who comes to the pantry first meets with Monica who signs them in, checks to see how things are going, and updates their information as needed. Then they receive a shopping card (specific to their family size) which lets them know the number of items they can choose from each category while they shop.
While people may think a Food Pantry is about just providing a meal, it really is so much more. Sally* (FROM Food Pantry participant and volunteer) says,
“The food pantry helps to supplement my income so I have enough for other necessities each month. It helps with the basics in food so I can continue paying my way for everything else. I could not stay in my home without the supplemental help I get at FROM and I know I wouldn’t be able to eat as healthy as I do now without the food pantry.”
FROM relies on volunteers throughout the organization; it’s just another way that neighbors can help neighbors. Volunteers cite a number of reasons for why they donate their time, but sometimes they do so as a way of saying “thank you” for receiving help.
Sally says one of the many reasons she volunteers is, “because it’s a way to pay back for all the wonderful support I receive, but it also helps me feel of worth, gives me great social opportunities and it encourages me to do what I can to help others. Plus it just feels good!”
Sally also helps her neighbors by encouraging those in need to come to the pantry because
“it’s been such a benefit to me and I’m just so grateful. FROM is such a blessing for the people of Lowell.”
*name has been changed