Last month, 101 local families in need were able to stock their fridges and cupboards with meats, vegetables, juice and other groceries.
And they were able to do something we take for granted all the time because of dedicated volunteers and contributors at the at .
Because of the food pantry in New Baltimore, those families were able to eat.
Households that adhere to federal poverty level income guidelines and are within the church's parish qualify for the assistance.
As part of Patch's mission to give back to the communities we cover, New Baltimore-Chesterfield Patch spent some time volunteering in the pantry earlier this week. There was a wealth of generosity among the volunteers who staff the pantry and local businesses and citizens who keep the food, toiletries and clothes coming in for those who need them. Forgotten Harvest, which delivers a truckload of food once a week, also plays a big role in stocking the pantry.
Pantry worker Virginia Furton has been a regular volunteer for years.
"You're helping people that are in need," Furton said of the reason why she does it.
Among the volunteers' duties are sorting canned goods, such as green beans, corn, peas, tuna, spaghetti sauce, fruit and beans. They also organize the shelves that stow products like toothpaste and deodorant as well as help hand out fresh bread and pastries (donated regularly from in Chesterfield). Volunteers, along with your Patch editor, can also be directed to bag duty to sort, fold and stack scores of bags so they're ready to hold goods.
The modern pantry, complete with a walk-in cooler and freezer, was made possible by a donation from Joan and Wayne Webber. Prior to opening in Aug. 22, 2010, the pantry was confined to a small space without air conditioning or running water, according to pantry workers.
Manager Denise Parks and assistant manager Elizabeth Broz run the pantry as volunteers. They say some people seeking food are middle-class workers who have been laid off. Parks said it's often an emotional endeavor for them to come in the first time.
Recipients are able to get food through the pantry if they do not already receive groceries from other pantries; that guideline is in place because most of them are also on food stamps, Parks said.
The pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Mondays and from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, call 586-725-6304.