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.
Because of the abundance of volunteers (1,990 last year) and generous donations, the non-profit organization only has to spend 5% of their budget on administrative costs.
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.
Reading the motto of this amazing undertaking brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing to those in need.
Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you for writing and sharing about this great agency! I have heard of them, but it’s always helpful to see pictures to see exactly what the families get and how it works. Thank God for Prodisee Pantry, the donors, and those volunteers that make it all happen.
You should stop by and see it for yourself someday. It’s even more impressive in person.
An excellent example of a community pulling together and what they can achieve without government interference. Thank goodness for generous, caring Americans!
Amen to that!
What a wonderful worthwhile cause. It is great to see that fresh produce is a part of what is provided.
On another note, love Lois Lane’s new hat!
Yes, I think the produce may actually be donated from several local farms and grocery stores. It all looked very fresh.
And Lois loves a new hat more than anyone!
What an awesome presentation! So professionally done in telling the story with such wonderful pictures. Thank you for making more of our community aware of this worthwhile ministry.
And thank you, Marcus for your involvement as well.
Isn’t it amazing how one person’s vision has led to so many lives being touched.
That’s true. Deann has really stuck with her vision over the years and I think she’s even been surprised by how large it’s grown.
This looks like a great organization. I volunteer at a local food pantry which is part of the very large Oregon Food Bank. Volunteers drive downtown each week to pick of food for Tuesday evening’s pantry. With this particular organization participants are only allowed to get food once a month, they have to find alternate organizations for the rest of the month. I understand the reason behind this but some of our regulars are on foot or bicycle or have to set up a ride so finding another source for food might be quite a challenge.
For anyone looking to donate to their local food bank/pantry – speaking for what I’ve seen – there’s usually plenty of food (not always meat or fresh produce) but what is often lacking are personal care supplies. When you see a great deal on toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, feminine supplies, etc consider getting some extras to donate.
That’s an excellent idea. Glad you have a similar organization where you are!
What a wonderful organization, Leslie Anne! Great post. Have a wonderful weekend!
If it doesn’t stop snowing at your house soon, we’ll have to get them to ship a box of food to you! They fed 18,000 people after Hurricane Katrina, so at least they could send you some hot chocolate.