When the 18 wheeler drove into the parking lot at 580 W. Jackson Street, some 80 volunteers were ready and waiting to begin the process of unwrapping, unpacking, sorting and bagging. The semi from Second Harvest Food Bank is like a box of chocolates; we never know what we will get. We do know it will all be good.
On Friday June 24, 2016, the Shiloh Baptist Church food pantry hosted its 5th Mobile Food Drop. As early as 7:45 a.m. the line had already begun to form. This food drop provided food to persons residing in the Parramore and neighboring communities.
Shiloh members were joined by family, friends, and members of St. Richards Episcopal Church in a huge volunteer effort to place some 32,808 pounds of food into the hands of more than 315 households.
Our volunteers were amazing! At one point, a pallet of watermelon needed to be moved from the outside into the gym. The melons were heavy and needed to be placed at the end of the client receiving line. The volunteers walked those melons in 2 by 2 in no time. Then, volunteers formed a “bread brigade”, a volunteer chain that moved a pallet of bread and sweets inside in a matter of minutes. Our sorting and packing occurs outside under a large canopy. Some items, like sweets and refrigerated foods, don’t tolerate heat so well, so we move those inside to keep them cooler.
The volunteers working in the “distribution center” located under the canopy outside, do a remarkable job of packing bags that we purchase from Save-A-Lot. These folks invest a lot of sweat equity and they do it with a smile the entire time. They leave happy to have helped. Each client received two, large Save-A-Lot bags, filled to the brim, plus a bag of sweets, and watermelons (for as long as the melons lasted). Clients that wanted them received children books to encourage summer reading!
It was around 3 p.m., the volunteers that remained were hot, tired and in the midst of cleaning up. It is always that one person that walks up at the end, that keeps us humble and committed to doing these food distributions. That one person, who is willing to take anything, because they have nothing, reminds me of the words of Jesus, that they are of the least.
Thank you Second Harvest Food Bank for allowing us to help with the war on hunger in this community.
Priscilla A. Carter
Shiloh Baptist Church Pantry Lead