In the case of the Reservoir Food Pantry, its a collection of canopy tents up the hill behind Robert’s Auction House on Route 28 in Boiceville, NY.
But, more importantly, a pantry is also a process.
When a person (group) applies to be an Agency with the Food Bank, the first thing that happens is, essentially, a mountain of paperwork. Included in this paperwork is several pages of rules – guidelines – to be followed.
The food only goes to the hungry.
The food cannot be given, bartered, sold traded with another Food Bank Agency.
The food cannot be served at a pantry or other social function.
The food cannot be sold.
The shoppers are to be treated with dignity and respect.
This list goes on and on and on. And, every rule makes sense and is easy to obey provided nobody is out for a scam.
More than the rules, is the process occurring as we, the new pantry volunteers and shoppers, get to know one another. Time and pantry visits are needed by us all to build a pantry community.
For me, a successful pantry offers food as well as a safe haven for everyone, both shoppers and volunteers, where healing begins and continues.
The Reservoir Food Pantry is developing an every-week rhythm that people appreciate, even need.
We gather under the canopies. People walk among the food: apples, oranges, onions, potatoes, carrots, greens, canned soup, canned vegetables, Bread Alone Bread. They choose a three-day supply of food which will last them seven days.
Offering food with respect and dignity and a spirit of community and sharing is essential to this whole process.
More than the food, we all take home a spiritual gift we receive on Monday afternoons. The gift of sharing of oneself feeds the spiritual hunger experienced by mankind.
And, for me, what binds this whole experience together for everyone is the food.
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Peace and food for all.