Preparing Mobile Pantry

Volunteers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Clay Center Community bag up perishable food through Harvesters Food Network, Kansas City, for Wednesday’s rural mobile food pantry distributed monthly at Pamida on the third Wednesday of the month.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church volunteers will provide perishable food to area families free of charge the third Wednesday of each month beginning Aug. 19.

The program is a continuation of the church's mission of providing food where needed in the community.

The Rural Mobile Food Pantry will provide food from Harvesters, a Kansas City Food Bank and distributed here in Clay County by church volunteers from the Church on the third Wednesday of each month starting Aug. 19, at the Pamida parking lot from 1:30 until 3 p.m.

The food will be distributed from a refrigerated truck that will hold a variety of perishable foods. The food is provided free of charge on a first come, first served basis, to persons based on the number of people in the family. For example, a one person family will receive a bag of food, whereas a four person family would receive a box of food.

"We are so pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to individuals and families in Clay County to supplement their family's monthly groceries with healthy fruits and vegetables, and other perishable products," said Donna Long, the volunteer coordinator for the Clay Center Mobile Food Pantry.

If persons are shut-ins, or do not have transportation to the site at the time of the distribution, they can contact St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 632-3200, and a written authorization form will be mailed to them. The form needs to be completed and returned to the Church prior to the time for distribution, and then volunteers from the Church will deliver the food that day to the person or family's home.

In the first distribution on Aug. 19, a Wednesday, the truck will arrive at 1 p.m., and volunteers from the church will be busily putting the food from the truck into bags and boxes for distribution until the distribution starts at 1:30 p.m. The person picking up the food only needs to sign their name, and provide that they are a Clay County resident, and the number of people in their family in each age group: adult, 18 - 64; child, birth through 17; or senior, 65 and above.

No income guidelines are provided for this program, we only ask that people who need the food to supplement their regular monthly groceries come and pick up the food for their family."We all know how expensive fresh fruits, vegetables, and milk products can be throughout the year. Many families can use this type of boost. St. Paul's Episcopal Church thanks Carol Sherman, manager of Pamida, and the Pamida staff for their willingness to allow the Pamida parking lot to serve as the distribution site where there is plenty of room, and we are not likely to have any kind of traffic jam," said church leader Carolyn Garwood.

The foods provided each month will vary from month to month, depending on what is readily available from Harvesters. The Harvester's Food Bank received a grant to supply rural areas with perishable foods on a monthly basis, and we are fortunate enough to be able to be included in that program.

This program will be available at the same time and location the third Wednesday of each month throughout the year, weather permitting. In case of stormy weather, if we are unable to distribute food that day, people will be notified if they listen to the KCLY radio for an announcement.

Included with each bag or box of food will be a handout of interesting things to do with fruits and vegetables provided by the River Valley Extension Office, thanks to Deanna Turner and Sonya Cooper at that office.

More than 20 volunteers from St. Paul's Episcopal Church will be involved in the distribution of this food for the Rural Food Pantry throughout the year. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, together with Harvesters, provide the Backsnack Program providing healthy snacks to children distributed by the elementary schools during the school year, which will continue this school year.

The church provided Kids Cafe, healthy lunches at the shelter house to the west of the swimming pool Monday through Friday throughout the summer with the help and assistance of volunteers from the community. In addition, St. Paul's Episcopal Church volunteers provide hot dogs or tacos to children during the 4 p.m. break at the swimming pool every other week throughout the summer.

For more information, contact the church or Long at 632-5068.