Food pantry feeds with Biblical spirit

Published 11:45 pm Friday, July 4, 2014

From staff reports

DESTREHAN — More than 1,000 people have been served this year through Matthew 25:35, a food pantry run through Destrehan’s St. Charles United Methodist Church.

“Our name comes from our desire to follow Jesus’ example,” said Gwen Keller, ministries coordinator. “The verse says ‘for I was hungry and you gave me food.’

“Jesus often took care of those in need, and in our society there are many who are struggling financially. Even if a family has a job, providing food can help them with difficult choices between food, clothing or being able to pay their other bills.”

Beginning this spring, the church partnered with Second Harvesters to supply recipients with fresh and frozen products.

Pantry coordinator Mary Anne Schindler said about 15 workers a week operate the pantry and two Second Harvest pick-up crew members help, as well.

The number of families serviced has increased since the Second Harvesters partnership. There were 215 people served in 2012.

“We invite other churches and people from the community to help us,” she said. “We also have several recipients that come and help us work every week. This is a big blessing to us. We also have our prayer team pray for the pantry ministry and the families God brings to us.”

The weekly effort is about more than just food, as a prayer box is set out so people can leave requests and praises for the prayer team to lift up. Church members and volunteers also pray with those clients that request it.

“We also include in the bags a daily devotional and Bibles when they are available,” Schindler said. “The people look forward to the devotionals.”

Volunteers meet at 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday and work until about noon. On the first Wednesday of the month, they work between 5:30 and 7 p.m.

Another Second Harvester partner, Winn Dixie, has recently added contributions from their produce and bakery departments.

“We are looking for drivers to assist in picking up, weighing and delivering food five days a week,” Keller said.

“We are currently seeking groups, families or individuals that want to help; drivers to pick up donated food and people to pray for the recipients are also desired.”

Church members are also asking businesses, churches and organizations to hold food drives, especially this summer, when the need is increased. Food and monetary donations are accepted from groups or individuals.

The pantry is open from 10 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. St. Charles Parish residents should bring proof of income and residency and a picture ID when picking up food.

They are welcome to receive food once a month.

“Many recipients have really enjoyed when we have had extra items to choose from, and those items can include specialty food items, fresh fruits and vegetables, baby items, devotionals, books, Bibles and crosses,” Keller said.

Call 985-764-8292 for more information.