Welcome to this pantry

The Calvary Food Pantry is a project supported by the Calvary Baptist Church of Portsmouth, VA.

We distribute food through the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia program and other outreach initiatives.

Our hours of operation are each Tuesday from 10 am to 12 noon at 2117 London Blvd.  We require an initial referral from PARC in the Social Services building on High Street in Portsmouth.

We also deliver a monthly food supplement to two senior low income apartment complexes.

All our workers are volunteers; they are motivated by the Love of God and desire to make life easier for the less fortunate.

Calvary Baptist has allocated a secure room to store the food items that will be given out. They also provide freezers and a refrigerator for cold products.

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Notes from visit to Blacksburg Food Pantry

From information I gleaned from Susan, a member of Blacksburg Baptist Church, on September 30, 2012.

For the past 25 years or so, Blacksburg Baptist Church (BBC) has housed the Food Pantry in a building behind their church. Other churches in Blacksburg contribute items to keep the pantry stocked, and a rotating list of helpers man the facility.

The hours open for distribution are on Monday evenings, and Tuesday through Friday in the morning. Each church is responsible for keeping up certain items. BBC has peanut butter, jelly, and juices to keep supplied.

Recently, the Food Pantry has been moved to a Methodist Church that has a warehouse available. Referrals for accessing the Pantry are given by the Social Action Network in Blacksburg.

Comments: Blacksburg has a lower unemployment rate than many areas, and the average income per family is higher than the average in Portsmouth. These factors may influence the ability to keep the needy cared for adequately.

Blacksburg does not have access to a Foodbank. More details on how the Pantry works there would be helpful.

Posted in non-USDA Pantries

Setting up a food pantry: some basic hints

After deciding to open a food pantry in a non-profit agency, the first priority is finding a space that can be locked and kept secure.

Electric outlets to accommodate freezers are necessary.

Most clients are not vegetarians; they very much appreciate a protein rich meat product in their grocery bag.

Make sure you can recruit enthusiastic volunteers. Calvary has a seasoned 93 year old who serves faithfully every week. It’s good to have some younger arms to handle cases of food. Those who can’t lift are welcome to sit down and fill out forms, and offer encouraging words to the clients.

Once you have the blessing of your non profit, volunteers are lined up, and you have been to class to dispense USDA, you will need to start filling up your shelves. Some agencies choose not to give out USDA; if USDA foods are used, they need to be kept separate from the other food.

Choose a day that is convenient for your volunteers and set up a time to give out food. Since clients can only access USDA food once a month, a weekly dispensing day will probably be adequate.

You may need to ask a volunteer to act as security if the layout of your facility allows people to wander around. Sad to say, a few clients have issues with taking what is not theirs.

Ordering items from the Foodbank is very easy. Each day, the Foodbank posts a list of commodities via the internet. Orders can be called in or ordered via the internet. The food can be delivered to the agency or picked up at the Foodbank.

Let others know what you are doing; many will want to help. Calvary is fortunate to pick up a bounty of produce in season from the Master Gardeners of Portsmouth. Most clients are delighted to see fresh produce in their bags.

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