Our Food Pantry has been a vital part of our church's outreach missions for over 10 years. From its humble beginnings groceries bagged up in a closet and handed out from the church office, this mission has grown a hundred-fold in both size and reach.
As the need in our community has grown, our volunteers have recognized and welcomed the opportunity to become Christ's hands and feet. Serving food-insecure individuals, families and seniors, our food pantry has expanded to include not only non-perishables, but fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh breads and pastries, toiletries and meat. We have also re-organized our pantry so that our guests may "shop" for the foods they need and like, rather than being handed a pre-packaged bag or box of foods that may go to waste.
Our food pantry has also incorporated the power of intercessory prayer. Many of our guests find themselves using our services for the first time due to sudden unemployment or changes in their lives. They are in need of not only physical food, but spiritual food. Our prayer team is available during food pantry hours to pray for individuals as requested, as well as keeping little people busy while their parents shop and receive prayer.
Additionally, the need for assistance has become so prevalent that our Food Pantry Mission has become an interdenominational community effort. We are grateful for the support from Ellenton UMC, Parrish UMC, Family of God UMC, Terra Ceia UMC, and St. Mary's Episcopal Church. All churches participate through gifts of monetary donations, food donations and volunteer hours to keep the Food Pantry stocked and operating.
We are equally grateful for the support of other community groups and businesses such as the Palmetto Women's Club, Boy Scout Troop #72, the Mayor's Food Drive, the USPS, Manatee County Meals on Wheels Plus and Publix at Bayshore Gardens. Together, we continue our Lord's mission of providing food assistance to people in our community with great love, respect and dignity.