FOOD PANTRY Q & A
WHO DOES THE FOOD PANTRY SERVE?
Our clients span a range of all ages and races and may be male or female, but all regular clients are low income individuals living in Tuscaloosa County whose need has been documented by Community Service of West Alabama.
HOW CAN YOU BECOME A FOOD PANTRY CLIENT?
You can call or come by the Food Pantry during our normal hours of operation and request food. You will receive an emergency ration of food if you have not previously received food at Saint Mark. You will then be put on a waiting list to become a regular client. When room opens up, you will either be notified in writing or called to come in on a regular basis. Currently clients receive food approximately every 6 weeks. The time individuals spend on the waiting list is currently a year or longer.
WHEN IS THE FOOD PANTRY OPEN?
TUESDAY 11:30 - 2:00
WEDNESDAY 9 - 11 AND 12 - 2:00
THURSDAY 9 - 11 AND 12 - 2:00
WHO WORKS IN THE FOOD PANTRY?
All workers are volunteers. Individuals are needed who can make a commitment to come on a regular basis and need to be responsible for securing someone to come in their place when they must be away. Several people have found that it works well to pair with someone else and arrange between themselves to cover a given shift. Individuals are also needed for the substitute list who will fill in as needed for regular regular volunteers. Some are needed to bag groceries and others to maintain client files. Others shop for groceries to stock the pantries and some pick up donations early in the morning from Publix bakery. Still others pray with clients who request it. Many talents and gifts are required to keep the food pantry operating.
Volunteers should be individuals of sound judgement who can make decisions, take action when needed, and maintain confidential information. They do not have to be members of Saint Mark, but someone associated with Saint Mark should be able to confirm their suitability. To volunteer, please call Jennifer Woods at 205-339-9388.
WHAT DO CLIENTS RECEIVE WHEN THEY COME TO THE FOOD PANTRY?
There is a specific list of food a client receives with the quantity depending on the size of the client's family.
Family of One: 1 box meal, 2 macaroni and cheese, 1 juice, 1 rice, 2 canned meats, 2 soups, 1 dessert item, 1 peanut butter, 1 jelly, 1 spaghetti sauce, 1 spaghetti, 1 canned pasta or beans, 1 cereal, 3 canned vegetables, 1 canned fruit.
Family of Two: all that is on the list for family of one plus 1 more box meal, 1 more macaroni and cheese, 1 more soup, 1 more beans and pasta, 1 more can of fruit, and 1 more vegetable.
Family of Three: all that is on the list for family of two plus 1 more meat and 1 more can vegetable.
Family of Four or more: one additional item for each family member above 3.
HOW CAN YOU DONATE TO THE FOOD PANTRY?
The Food Pantry handles only non-perishable items. Cereal, juice (always need light or sugar free), and canned meats are especially useful, but all canned foods or anything on the list of foods that clients receive are very helpful. Other items that might be considered extras are welcome and will be distributed. In addition, we sometimes get surplus produce that people gather from their gardens. This is very appreciated by the clients but needs to be received Tuesday through Thursday and must all be distributed by Thursday at 2:30 pm since we do not have refrigeration. Money donated to Saint Mark UMC that is designated for the Food Pantry is often the most useful contribution because the pantry can buy some groceries from the West Alabama Food Bank at a reduced price.
WHERE DOES THE FOOD PANTRY GET GROCERIES?
A group of volunteers shop on Monday to stock the pantry. Everything that is available from the West Alabama Food Bank is purchased there. Canned vegetables can be bought for 18 cents per pound and other items can be purchased much cheaper than at the grocery store; however, some items must be bought at the grocery store. The store we use is Sav-a-Lot, and we do not have to pay sales tax.
HOW IS THE FOOD PANTRY FINANCED?
The Food Pantry is financed entirely by offerings designated for the Food Pantry.