By Veronica Schwake, Christ Community UMC | Avondale, AZ
The St. Mary’s Food Bank has several different programs to deliver food to the community. Some of those programs involve partnerships with various agencies. Christ Community United Methodist Church in Avondale, AZ became interested in the Mobile Food Pantry after experiencing the one that is held weekly at some of the Litchfield Elementary School District schools. For this particular program, the Food Bank supplies pallets of food and the partner agency provides the location and volunteers to distribute the food. The Mobile Pantry also does not require families to qualify to receive food. We felt we were in the perfect location to host a Mobile Food Pantry. We also wanted to reach the working poor, who work during the week (when traditional food pantries are open), and hold the Pantry on a Saturday.
There is an application process to become a partner agency. In the Spring of 2017, the Christ Community UMC Leadership Team gave their full support, and we submitted our pre-application. The approval process took some time and included a mandatory training session and a full application, after the initial approval, and a site inspection. We were approved in mid-September and scheduled for our first event for September 30, 2017.
On September 30, we had 60 volunteers on hand to help distribute food to the community. Most of the volunteers were from Christ Community UMC and ranged in age from 9 to 90! We passed out produce, bread, bottled beverages, pasta, and some dairy to 152 families. Those 152 families represented 641 individuals. The volunteers came ready to work and served each person with a smile on their faces. It was a great morning of service!
We are scheduled to host a Mobile Food Pantry once a month and hope to schedule twice a month in 2018. We are very excited about this opportunity to serve the families in our community.