LOAVES AND FISHES IS CELEBRATING FOURTEEN YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY

Welcome to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry,

In August 2009 we celebrated our eighth anniversary of operation. Our door opened in August 2001 and we officially began the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry at Prospect Hill Baptist Church. From what started as a trickle of people that first month, has grown into a vital and active endeavor that serves more than 12,000 individuals each year providing in excess of 240,000 miles.

We pack boxes of food that provide three meals a day for eight days for every member of a family. These are nutritionally balanced boxes, containing fruits, vegetables, starches, soups, cereal, canned meats, fresh meats, and a variety of other products as we have them. We try to always have a dairy item, such as cheese or margarine, to complete the box and thanks to a grant from the Taylor Community Foundation we offer fresh produce each time we are open.

Today, because of the deepening problems in our economy, we have set up additional tables of food for our clients to choose for themselves items that will help them stretch their food budgets a little further.

All of our clients have been interviewed and screened to determine that they fall within the U.S. government guidelines for poverty. I would estimate that more than 80 percent of our clients fall significantly under the basic amount allowed. A family of four living on less than $700 a month is not uncommon; many have far less than that.

We do all of this with some help from the State Food Purchase Program and the generosity of a network of individuals, organizations, schools and churches who support us on a regular basis. More than 32 churches help us, most by donating not only food, but funding to help us purchase products not donated. They are the basis of our ability to be able to stay open and keep our shelves stocked.

Who are our clients? They are the elderly, the working poor, the disabled, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and single-parent households, among others. We estimate that about 35 percent of our clients are mentally or physically disabled and will never be able to work again. They will always be with us. More than 100 of our clients are seniors who cannot make it on pensions or Social Security, many of whom must make the monthly decision between purchasing food and paying for a prescription.

Our clients come to us through the Department of Public Welfare, Children and Youth Services, numerous social service agencies in Delaware County, and through referrals by organizations, churches and individuals throughout our area. There is a strong line of communication among members of our society who find themselves in need. Word is out that they can come to Loaves and Fishes, not only for food, but for help with other problems in their lives. We work with and refer to agencies throughout the county who help with emergency shelter, housing, counseling needs, etc.

What we do is not nuclear science. It is the simple act of helping people in need. We hope you will join us and help us help others. Come and volunteer, send food or send a check. There is always a place for you at Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

Linda Freeman, Founder and Director