A Tale of Two Pantries
In the days before COVID-19, the Chapel Pantry was a walk-in food pantry serving local families and individuals experiencing food insecurity. In 2019, we served 23,000 people. Guests could come to the pantry once per month for groceries, including canned and dry goods, meat, eggs, dairy, baked goods and abundant fresh produce in a client-choice atmosphere. We were open six times per week to accommodate pantry guest schedules. We hope to return to this model later in 2021.
When the pandemic began, we had to pivot to a no-contact, drive-through pantry model. Currently, we are open on Saturdays only, from 12-3. Pantry guests still receive abundant food assistance, with bags of food being put in car trunks. Guests may come as often as needed during these challenging times. The pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in the need for food assistance. In 2020, the Pantry served almost 42,000 people, an 83% increase.
Through the financial generosity of Eastern Shore Chapel, Galilee Church, community groups and other churches we purchase food at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. These same groups donate food or sponsor food drives to help supply the Pantry. We also participate in the Foodbank’s Food Rescue program, picking up dairy products, meat, produce and bread that would otherwise be thrown away. Last year we “rescued” over 200 tons of food to distribute to our pantry guests!
A dedicated group of more than 100 volunteers helps with the pantry ministry, stocking food, packing food bags, working during pantry distribution, picking up food and helping with set-up and clean-up each week.
We are always seeking more volunteers and more sources of food and funding. To volunteer, or to make a donation of food, grocery store gift cards, or cash contact Kay O’Reilly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online donations can be made through PushPay. Look for the blue “Donate” tab at the bottom right on the home page and follow the instructions. Choose “Chapel Pantry” to make a donation.