"It's not a pantry... This is a grocery store!" This refrain has echoed through our offices as family after family walks through our newly expanded, freshly stocked Community Pantry.
This past month our community took action to feed the families we serve. The congregation at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach collected 3,611 gallons of food (by volume) to fill our pantry.
A talented crew came out and expanded the shelving to more than triple capacity. Volunteers showed up on Second Saturday to get the pantry stocked and beautiful just in time for Mother's Day.
Project Hope Alliance's Community Pantry provides food, hygiene and school items to more than 14 families each week. For these families, a bag of food and a pack of baby wipes does more than simply offset their grocery budget.
Parents tell us about the excruciating decisions they make month after month: "Do I pay rent or buy milk?" "Do I fill the gas tank or my child's belly?" Even when families can afford groceries, choosing quality, wholesome food can be cost-prohibitive. In fact, 84 percent of food pantry clients report purchasing the cheapest food available, even if they knew it wasn't the healthiest option, in an effort to provide enough food for their family (source).
Feeding a family is just the beginning, but it paves the way for Project Hope Alliance to end homelessness for each child. Armed with food security, families are able to prioritize expenses like rent and utilities. With nourished bodies and minds, children are prepared to excel in the classroom.
To St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, and everyone who supports the Community Pantry, thank you for making Orange County a community that nourishes.