The North Bend Eagle

 

Pantry still serving one year later

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 5/3/17

It has been a year since the Blessings Food Pantry opened.

And it has been a blessing to over 2,000 people. The panty has been blessed by a community that cares and sees the need for food available to those without resources to buy basic necessities.

The United Presbyterian Church, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, St. Peter Lutheran Church, St. George Catholic Church and Sacred Heart Catholic Church all support the pantry. Community drives have contributed to the pantry. The Boy Scouts donated their Scouting for Food collections. Caldwell Family Dentistry in downtown North Bend donates toothbrushes and toothpaste monthly and collects canned food each December. Bob’s Custom Meats has donated meat that customers who are butchering don’t want. The North Bend Public Library has a box to collect donations. On occasion the schools have had canned food drives to support the pantry. There is a lady in Iowa who has family in North Bend who will occasionally show up with a trunk-load of food.

“I am continually amazed at how quickly the needs for certain items are met by the community,” United Presbyterian Church minister and pantry organizer Michael Hill said.

When it began May 5 of last year, the pantry was open once a week. Now it is open three different times during the week.

Ann Halladay got involved with the pantry as a member of the Mission and Evangelism Committee at UPC. Though she is no longer on the committee, she continues her involvement, as have other members of the church.

“When the weather is nice, the numbers are down,” Halladay said. “When it is bad weather, the numbers seem to be up.”

The pantry serves about 12 to 15 families a week, or about 40 to 50 individuals.
When word spread that the pantry did not have any income requirements or other guidelines, people came from towns outside the community.

“We had to change our policy,” Halladay said. “We let them shop one time, but told them this was suppose to be a local food pantry. We would provide them information on resources they could tap into for assistance in their communities.”

Another popular feature of Blessings is that users can pick out what they need instead of being handed a box of items others have chosen. The pantry also has paper products, diapers, laundry soap or shampoo, items that can’t be purchased with food stamps.

 

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