Hunger Is Not a Disease

After 30 Years of Service, Good Neighbor Food Pantry Closes June 1.

After feeding hungry people in Woodstock for over 30 years, volunteers at the Good Neighbor Food pantry were asked to leave the pantry’s space at the Woodstock Reformed Church by June 1, when the pantry will close..

This didn’t happen because there were no hungry people to use the pantry.  This pantry has been one of the largest in the area since it expanded in the economic downfall of 2008.  Before that time, shoppers were mostly a couple dozen single homeless men and Woodstock colorful characters.

With the economic downfall, patronage escalated from 25 people per week to hundreds.  Hungry people filled the halls.  The line filed out the door into the parking lot.

Before the economic downfall, people came in and got one or two each of four basic items:  cereal, tuna fish, peanut butter, soup.  About the time that the crowds began to shop for food, the food bank changed the system  to include fresh produce and a three-day-supply of food for every person in the household.

People left the pantry with bags of food:  eggs, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, items of dignity.

Church members and townspeople never really accepted these changes.

People resented the changes they didn’t ask for.  This was understandable.  No one likes change, especially uninvited change.

They liked feeling only a few people in town needed food.

They liked thinking the pantry was “theirs” when it really belonged to the Food Bank.   After all, that’s where the food came from.  That’s where volunteer  training came from.    That’s where food and rent grants originated.

With the changes in food served came training classes at the Food Bank.  Funds became available to assist pantries with rent, and utilities.  At that time, the volunteer coordinator applied for and received a $1,000 rent grant to pay the church annually.

The $1,000 rent grant was new for the Woodstock Reformed Church.  No food pantry volunteers had  paid  rent money to help the membership.

At the time, the intention was to increase the amount annually.  $8,000 was a long range goal.

$8,000 was not out of line if the refrigerators and freezers were moved from the unpainted barn in the parking lot to the church basement.

A nationally known fundraising guru, Kim Kline, taught interested nonprofit volunteers how to raise money.  She based her success on the premise that givers give.  She told everyone in the class exactly what to do.

After this class, pantry volunteers in Woodstock did exactly as she instructed.

These fundraising efforts at the pantry made the Good Neighbor Food Pantry a success story.  Secrets of successful fundraising are outlined in detail on pages 196 and 197 of the book “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore.”

The Good Neighbor Food Pantry need not close.  There is time to raise the money needed.  There are probably still volunteers in this pantry who remember these skills taught by Kim Kline.

There is still time to feed the many hungry people who need this food.  The need is greater now than it has ever been.

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Thank you for reading this blog post.  Please forward it to your preferred social media network.  Share it with your friends.

Thank you for your interest in feeding hungry people.  Our need is greater now than ever before.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock, New York

 

 

 

10 Things You Can Do For Hungry People Now

DONATE FOOD TO A FOOD PANTRY
When you purchase groceries, buy a few extra jars or cans of food and take them to your neighborhood food pantry.
Peanut butter is my favorite choice. It’s shelf stable so needs no refrigeration. That makes it good for homeless people. It doesn’t spoil quickly so it can be used by a household with one or ten people. It doesn’t require a lot of chewing so it’s good for a person with no teeth. In short, peanut butter is a perfect food choice for a food pantry.
However, if you would rather choose another item, go with whatever you want to give. Whatever you choose, it will be selected by someone shopping in the pantry.

CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS
Give the unused items to your local food pantry.

HOST A FOOD DRIVE
Invite your friends and neighbors to help you collect food for your local food pantry.

DONATE CLEAN EGG CARTONS AND REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS TO YOUR FOOD PANTRY.
Food pantries are always in need of shopping bags and egg cartons. Eggs coming to a food pantry usually come in cases – without the cartons.
Shopping bags are not usually found on food pantry shopping lists.

CLEAN OUT THAT CLOSET!
Take your gently used clothing and bedding to a pantry or soup kitchen for distribution. I recently learned that the clothing item most needed in shelters is socks.
I also learned that women’s shelters are always in need of bras.
In the Albany, New York, area, you can send gently used or new women’s bras to:
YWCA – Greater Capitol Region
Brava
21 First Street
Troy, New York 12180

CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY.
Invite people to a party and ask them to give donations to a food pantry instead of a gift.

GIVE A LITTLE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
Make a regular donation to a food pantry. This translates to sending a check or gas card every month or quarter.

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS AND PERSONS OF INFLUENCE.
Motivate them to make ending hunger and homelessness a priority. Encourage them to support fair wages and benefits for workers.

READ A BOOK.
“Take This Bread” by Sara Miles, “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankoski, “I am Your Neighbor” by David R. Brown and Roger Wright, and “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” by Thurman Greco are four books which tell revealing stories about hungry people in America.

START A SCHOOL BACKPACK PROGRAM.
Backpack programs send food home on Friday afternoons to households where children would not otherwise eat over the weekend without the donated foods.

Thanks for reading this article! Please refer it to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

Woodstock

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