If you’ve never experienced food insecurity, you are fortunate. It’s difficult for most of us to imagine that simple food items like a box of spaghetti or some fresh fruit can make such a difference, but for many of the clients of the Carson City church’s Food Pantry, food insecurity is a way of life. The volunteers feel blessed every week to be able to help them.
The Food Pantry opened in June 2018 with the simple goal of helping individuals and families in Carson City and the surrounding area with their food needs. Since then, the church members have been surprised by the overwhelming need in their community. The number of pantry visitors has grown steadily since the opening, and the volunteers are currently helping nearly 200 needy individuals and families every month by offering non-perishable foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs and dairy products, meat, and hygiene items.
Initially, only non-perishable food was offered. In May 2020, thanks to fundraisers (including a concert by world-renowned violinist Jaime Jorge), a grant from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, and the generosity of the church family, volunteers were blessed to be able to purchase a commercial refrigerator and a commercial freezer, enabling them to offer cold foods as well.
In March 2020, due to COVID-19, the pantry went to a drive-through model. Volunteers spent many hours filling bags and boxes with food, which were then delivered to clients waiting outside in their cars. Recently, the pantry has been reopened, with the pantry clients again able to come in and choose the foods they prefer. On their way out, they receive a box filled with produce, eggs, dairy, and meat choices. A pantry client shared, “My husband and I never thought we would not have enough food. Everything we receive from the pantry is a blessing and has helped us survive. We thank God for the volunteers and the help of the pantry.”
Each week, the team of volunteers picks up between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds of food and produce to be distributed to pantry clients. Over the last two and a half years, the need for a small box truck with a lift gate became obvious; volunteers with trucks are not always available to help. Currently, the team is praying and working to raise money to buy an adequate box truck as soon as possible, which would eliminate the concern about being able to accommodate all the food to be picked up.
“Volunteering at the pantry has given me the opportunity to keep busy, as well as socialize during the pandemic,” said pantry volunteer Charrie Smart. “It has been such a blessing to help distribute food to families in need.”
What a blessing this has been to the entire Carson City church community. They encourage each other with the following words of Jesus: “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:37-40, KJV).
By Sheri Rasmussen