COVID-19: Meeting the Challenge
The threat of COVID-19 has brought a new reality to everyone. The uncertainty and anxiety we feel are felt even more acutely by those already struggling with food insecurity. We are working hard to provide supplemental food to our client families, while at the same time keeping them and our volunteers as safe as possible. Here are some of the steps we have taken so far. We stream-lined pantry registration and check-in to eliminate clients waiting in line on the porch or in the pantry. We also implemented pre-bagging of groceries so that clients can pick up their bags at the door and "go". We also implemented handwashing procedure and social distancing recommendations for volunteers, established guidelines for the number of volunteers needed each week, and we have increased the weekly allotment of groceries for our families with children. We have also suspended our monthly community lunches; however, we have started a temporary Door to Door Program to deliver groceries to homebound clients during the stay-at home period. No matter a person's circumstances, no one deserves to be hungry.
Located in the former Good Shepherd Church Rectory at 321 5th Street in Milford, Pennsylania, the Ecumenical Food Pantry has been in continuous operation since 1981. We provide supplemental and emergency groceries and toiletries to residents of Pike county who are facing food insecurity. Staffed completely by volunteers, the pantry is open weekly on Fridays from noon to 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm. to 7:30 pm. In addition to regular weekly distributions, we offer enhanced food offerings at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter that may include holiday meal staples such as turkeys and hams and other groceries for a festive meal. We are also the local distribution site for federally subsidized monthly food box program for senior citizens living on limited incomes. The pantry is a member of The Feeding America Network
Our mission is to reduce food insecurity in Pike County using the power of volunteers and the generosity of the community. Since access to our nutritious food is a basic human right, we are committed to responding to the needs of our community through food distribution, education, and advocacy. Hunger is a reality in our own backyard -- for residents experiencing food insecurity -- one in five children experience food insecurity.
Donating healthy food:
As a self-sustaining ministry of Good Shepherd Church and the Church's largest all-volunteer ministry, we strive to pay our own expenses. In addition to fixed expenses for insurance, electric, garbage collection, exterminators, rent and more, we purchase supplemental healthy foods, when needed, to ensure an adequate balanced supply for our guests.
A meaningful and uplifting experience:
The pantry is led and staffed entirely by volunteers. The volunteer director is Nancy Potter of Good Shepherd Church. Pantry volunteers come from the community, with teams from the Milford United Methodist Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church and two community-based teams, along with members of the Boy and Girl Scouts.
If you are in need of our services and a resident of Pike County, you can come to the pantry any Friday evening between 6:30 pm. and 7:30 pm. to sign up for assistance. You do not need an appointment. Please bring with you proof of Pike County residency, verification of income and birth certificates for family members under age 18.
Currently, we are not operating as a choice pantry* due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have shifted to serving clients and distributing pre-bagged groceries using a curbside delivery model. We will resume functioning as a "choice pantry" once we can be sure that it will be safe for clients, volunteers and all concerned.
Prior to the onset of the CoOVID-19 pandemic, the pantry had always functioned as a client choice pantry. Following is a brief description of a choice pantry Our goal is to return to serving as a choice pantry as soon as it is safely possible.
Most of us take for granted the choices we make when we go the grocery store. We stroll down the aisles and pick from a wide varity of foods. We are in control of what goes into our baskets. We attempt to apply this same concept at the Ecumenical Food Pantry. This is in contrast to distributing bags that are already filled with pre-selected groceries. We believe choice creates an atmosphere of dignity for our clients. Whether the trip to the pantry is a once a year, once a week occurrence, or when there are food supply issues in the family. Food needs cause worry and embarrassment that can either be magnified or minimized depending on the style of pantry operations. The choice pantry allows families the dignity of choosing their own food. Since families choose what they like and what will be useful to them there is little waste.