Smile #9 ~ A Full Pantry

9 Jan

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:15-17

A few short months ago, the shelves of the food pantry in the church basement were almost bare. The summer was hot, the need was high, and donations were few and far between. We had canned corn and green beans coming out of our ears, but the stores of canned meats, canned fruits, paper products, personal hygiene items, dried beans and rice were all but depleted. On any given day, we didn’t even have a jar of peanut butter to hand out. For every box of cereal that came in, we had three hungry families in need of one. Sure, there was always the option of writing out a voucher for the local grocery store, but a voucher does not stretch as far as a box of food does. Not even close. Every voucher written takes away from the funds used to assist with utility bills, rent, emergency shelter for transients, and those coffers are extremely slow to replenish.

The Food Pantry in the church where I work is a joint venture of the local Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and serves a county with a population of just under 10,000 people. If every person in the county donated just one dollar a year, the shelves would never be bare. The lights would never be out. The heat would always be on. We could very easily have kept each other fed, sheltered, but we didn’t.

It took a class of kindergarteners to remind us how to care for one another.

At the beginning of the school year, the kindergarten classes at the local elementary school organized the mother of all food drives. The entire school participated, calling on parents, friends, family, neighbors and strangers, encouraging them to donate whatever they could spare — a can of peas, a box of granola bars, a tube of toothpaste. Anything. The response was overwhelming. Carload after carload of food paraded into the pantry, filling the shelves that had been bare for way too long.

But it didn’t stop there.

Whether inspired by the children, or by something inside themselves, organizations, businesses, and individual families all pitched in and donated like they never have before. Throughout the fall and into the holiday season, heavily laden boxes of food, warm winter clothes, and monetary donations came into the pantry. They are still coming in. Just today I received another call from another family asking, “What do you need? We would like to help.”  For as long as those calls continue to come in, I will continue to smile, knowing we are all in good hands.

Suggested items to donate to your local Food Pantry:

Canned tuna, canned chicken, soups and stews, chili, canned or dried beans, peanut butter, canned nuts, canned vegetables and fruits, dried fruits, spaghetti sauce, fruit juice, powdered milk, applesauce, rice, canned pasta meals, dried pasta, whole-grain crackers, cold cereal, oatmeal, baby food, formula, dried milk, pudding mixes, baking goods (flour, sugars, oils), pancake mixes, bread mixes, graham crackers, diapers, personal hygiene items, household cleaning supplies.





4 Responses to “Smile #9 ~ A Full Pantry”

  1. Christy Farmer January 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Very nice Donna! Glad to hear the food drive continues to be a success! Readers should also know that many of the need items you listed can also be purchased for free or either close to free with coupons and sales. It does not take much for us to give & make a difference. 🙂

    • Donna January 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Great point, Christy!! Thank you! 🙂


  1. Book Review: The Coupon Mom’s Guide To Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson « Christy Farmer - January 17, 2012

    […] (For a guideline of common requested items, Please read Donna Sturgeon’s post, Smile# 9, A Full Pantry.) […]

  2. Book Review: The Coupon Mom’s Guide To Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson | Christy Farmer - March 22, 2013

    […] (For a guideline of common requested items, Please read Donna Sturgeon’s post, Smile# 9, A Full Pantry.) […]

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