The Food Pantry at Cornerstone Church is a volunteer driven labor of love. For each distribution Saturday we prepare at least 300 bags of groceries that reach more than 900 people in our community. There are a number of ways to help.
Everyone can lend a hand
Our most labor intensive tasks occur the Friday afternoon before our distributions on when we meet to assemble the bags of food. Volunteers working in pairs fill the bags assembly-line style working around long tables of opened paper bags, one carrying a carton of food and the other putting the item in the bag. In order to make this work smoothly, other volunteers line up rows of cartons, open boxes and break down the empties.
We also sort and organize used clothing and household items that have been donated and arrange them so clients can “shop” after they collect their bag of food.
Distribution begins at 7:30 on Saturday mornings and volunteers are waiting to serve coffee to clients who arrive before the doors open.
Our distribution days offer an opportunity for organizations to take part in community service that directly impacts the community. Registering new clients, checking in regulars and passing out the food bags are typical duties. We serve a large number of Hispanic individuals and Spanish speaking volunteers are very much needed.
In addition to the volunteer opportunities surrounding distribution days, there are other opportunities to pitch in.
Each Tuesday before a distribution we receive a delivery of USDA provided canned goods and grocery items from Farm Share of Florida’s regional food bank. We can always use a few strong arms to unload and store the shipment.
The Tuesday deliveries account for most of the food we distribute but sometimes we must purchase food in bulk from other sources to round out the next week’s bags. We also receive food donations from local grocery chains and community food drives. We need a pool of people to call on on an occasional basis to help with these transportation duties.