Our St. Isidore Society of St. Vincent de Paul publishes in the Harvest Bulletin our list of Pantry Needs every weekend. Parishioners respond generously with food, Gift Cards and money to support our mission of serving the underprivileged in our immediate area; so we wanted to give everyone a behind the scenes look at how we operate our food pantry.
Food is dropped off by parishioners in the wooden boxes in the Gathering Space or shipped to the church. The food pantry is located in the back of the Social Hall kitchen and two days each week the Pantry Team comes in to the process the donations. We look at the expiration dates on every food item before stocking it in the pantry. Items are stocked in the pantry on a first in/first out basis. Our pantry has become depleted since the church has temporarily closed but we are buying some items to ensure that people who come to us have food.
We prepare 2 paper bags of assorted can/box items along with 2 boxes of cereal and 1 kitchen garbage bag with laundry/dish/hand soap, toilet paper, paper towel, tissues, and personal hygiene products. These “Emergency Bags” are used when a neighbor in need calls the parish office for help. We have implemented procedures to ensure the family is in our parish boundaries and the need is legitimate. Help can be given once per month and a binder of food pick up sheets is kept to record dates of pick up by family. These “normal” procedures are being adjusted during this pandemic to ensure everyone who needs help receives it.
The bags are pulled from the shelf by office staff and placed in the parish office for pick up. In cases where help is needed every month, Vincentians will personally pack up items specifically for that family depending on what is available in the pantry. We have shelf space for 6 sets of Emergency Bags adjacent to the Pantry. The estimated value of one set of bags amounts to approximately $150. This provides a family with a good foundation to stretch their food budget.
We hope this gives you an informative overview of how we use your generous donations to help feed our community.
God Bless, St. Isidore St. Vincent de Paul Society