Non-Food Pantry Continues to Serve
For many years the St. Andrew’s congregation has lead the effort to provide home cleaning supplies, paper goods, hygiene products and diapers to our low income neighbors in Putnam County. These are items not covered with SNAP assistance, but definitely needed to run a household and promote health and wellness. Over these years we added a lunch to those attending the pick-up. Now known as the Putnam County Non-Food Pantry it is still led by St. Andrew’s parishioners, but it works in orchestration with the several food pantries located within the county. We have been blessed with many volunteers and much financial support, especially during this pandemic. But it is the pandemic that has provided the greatest challenge in continuing this ministry.
Now to our “heroes,” Kate Berry and Christiane Wisehart. Before vaccines were approved and available many of us were sheltering at home, doing what we could to keep ourselves healthy. (You see the majority of our volunteers were considered “older adults” and as a result were the most vulnerable to infection.) The Non-Food Pantry ceased operation for a while. The need was definitely still there, actually greater, but how were we going to be able to continue our efforts? This is where Kate and Christiane came to the rescue. They transitioned our monthly distribution from one that included a social lunch and “grocery store” like pick-up to a pre-packaged drive-through event. They recruited student volunteers, gathered product and packed bags. They spent days preparing for the 4th Saturday of the month and were at the church bright and early that morning to set-up and get ready for the 12:00-3:00 event that has people waiting in line some two hours earlier. For those who haven’t seen a typical distribution day, that means collecting some 450-500 rolls of toilet paper and bars of soap, 300 rolls of paper towels, a thousand trash bags, 300 bottles of dish soap, hygiene products and diapers. Special items like shampoo, laundry detergent, bleach, tooth brushes and paste are also given out depending on donations in a particular month. We have again started offering a sack lunch, but those too are prepackaged and handed out through the car line. Many of our volunteers are now vaccinated and taking on more responsibilities each month. Karen and Jim Mannon and Martha Rainbolt and Carl Huffman are back to helping secure product and organize the food distribution which helps so much, but it is thanks to Kate and Christiane that our efforts were only derailed for a short time.
Last Saturday was Kate’s last distribution for a while. She is going to be taking on the even more important role as a mother in the beginning of November. Christiane and Alex Roehrkasse will be taking responsibility for the Saturday distributions. Our sincere and continuing thanks to these three wonderful people and all who are involved in our Non-Food Pantry effort. It truly does take a village.
If you are interested in volunteering, please leave your name with Renee in the church office (653-3921) and she will pass it along to one of our leaders. We are always accepting monetary or product donations and those too can be sent or left at Advent House.