I wrote this story three years ago, and now on Thursday, April 26 2018 will be the featured speaker at the “Fill the Plate” luncheon at Prodisee Pantry. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Have you ever been hungry? Have you ever worried about how you were going to feed your family?
I was invited to attend a community luncheon last week at Prodisee Pantry, which is a food bank – but so much more. We were updated on the latest news from one of Baldwin County’s busiest non-profit agencies, which assisted 28,562 individuals last year with 1,315 of those being new families who were once considered middle class.
Founded 12 years ago as an outreach ministry of Spanish Fort United Methodist Church, the Pantry quickly grew into its own agency, and is now supported by over 13 local churches, numerous businesses and an army of volunteers.
Deann Servos is the original organizer and executive director who has guided this ministry’s growth to include help with housing, legal, medical, job searches and even vouchers with local veterinarians for pet care.
Every Tuesday between 9am-11:30, people of all walks of life, all races and all ages line up outside for help. After completing the appropriate evaluation forms, each family is given something similar to the buggy above (I think the non-southern translation is – shopping cart), depending on how many people are in their family.
Businesses are often on hand to conduct job interviews. Volunteer Albert Thomas said, “Food is the vehicle we use to meet the other needs in people’s lives.” I think the cooperative relationship with other local agencies is one of Prodisee Pantry’s strongest features.
Several years ago, I chaperoned my church’s youth group to help pack the food boxes, but that was in Prodisee Pantry’s old location. They’ve now relocated, and their new facility is beautiful as well as functional.
The new building is 16,000 square feet and provides plenty of room for all the food, which last year, was 424 TONS. 40 tons of that was fresh produce which is usually absent from the diet when money is tight.
Our lunch provided a chance to meet leaders in the community who were challenged to spread the word about Prodisee Pantry’s upcoming Mayday Hunger Challenge which will increase community awareness and support. We dined on a fine lunch made with typical ingredients distributed by the Pantry.
Here are the numbers of people helped for the past few months.
Prodisee Pantry’s motto is painted on the wall of the main room where clients first enter: 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. – Matthew 25:35.
Does your community have a similar program? For more information about Prodisee Pantry, click HERE.