The mission of the St. Thomas' Food Pantry is to address hunger, loneliness, and neglect in our city by providing our neighbors with nutritious food, positive social interactions, and educational information focusing on healthy lifestyles.
Update on the St. Thomas' Food Pantry - Fall, 2020, from Program Manager, Liz Pearce
We have seen an uptick in our attendance numbers again, which we were expecting, so I owe my thanks to our volunteers, our neighbors and our community for all of the support you have given the St. Thomas' Food Pantry. It has been quite a journey, and without each and every person, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. You have given the Food Pantry your time, your donations, your home made masks, the bounty of your garden, your recycled grocery bags and hundreds of other gifts.
As you may recall, we experienced a tremendous surge when COVID-19 hit in March and April. We jumped from an average 75 households weekly (before COVID19) to a high of 304 households (September 24, 2020). During May, June and July, we continued to see high attendance numbers (around 175 per week), but they leveled out a bit and we were hopeful they would go down. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
Recently, one of our guests told this story to Frank Castellon: "My wife lost her job because they closed the store and will not reopen it. She was getting unemployment but that has run out. I was working part time, painting, till last week, but now I am also out of a job. Nobody seems to be hiring. Not enough money to pay rent. If it weren’t for the food you all provide, I don’t know what we would do. Thank you for all you do."
Another guest told me that his son and three grandsons had recently moved in to save money, and that he was happy to help them, but that the grandsons were growing boys and had eaten everything in his refrigerator. He was so grateful when I told him that we could give him extra produce and protein to help.
As we face the coming months, please keep the Food Pantry guests, volunteers, and St. Thomas' staff members in your prayers and in your hearts. If you can help, we need it, and we'll take it. We wouldn't have made it this far without you, and we aren't stopping now.
I have so much hope in my heart, thanks to all of you.
FOOD PANTRY RESPONSE TO COVID-19
In light of concerns about COVID-19, our pantry will remain open on Thursdays, but we will be offering a modified experience that includes recommended social distancing, instead of our typical "pop-up market" set up.
Pre-packed bags will be given out on Thursdays between 2:30 and 5:00 pm. If guests are in cars, they should enter the driveway and pull their car around to the parking lot side of the church, and groceries will be brought out to the car. If guests are walking, groceries will be brought to the Parish Hall door.
Thank you for your understanding and commitment to the wellness of our community.
For information about our Food Pantry or to leave a message call: 804-321-9548. This line can be reached at any time and lists our hours, directions, requirements, weather advisories, or allows you to leave a message. A valid form of ID is helpful, but not required.
Volunteer Opportunities - Please email Volunteer Coordinator, Kristin Cummings (KECummings7@gmail.com)
As a mainly volunteer-run organization, St. Thomas depends on volunteer help throughout each week. In response to COVID-19, our volunteer needs have been modified to follow CDC guidelines, as well as best practices indicated by the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Each volunteer will be required to sign a waiver prior to volunteering at the St. Thomas' Food Pantry, stating that they have not traveled within the past two weeks, and that they are not exhibiting symptoms of illness. In addition, we ask that all volunteers follow our Healthy Volunteer Guidelines.
Picking up donated food at Food Lion - Volunteers will pick-up food, document the weight and put away the items our storage rooms. Certain Tuesdays and Thursdays at Food Lion, Azalea Brook Hill, 11:30 am. Takes about one hour.
Pre-packing bags for guests - Volunteers will pack available inventory into grocery bags. Wednesdays at 10 am and 1:30 pm, Thursdays at 10 am and Noon.
Inventory Management at St. Thomas' - Restocking items, counting totals, organizing the storage area. Varies.
Distribution Day - Volunteers will set up tables, chairs, manage inventory, restock shelves and place bags in cars. Thursdays at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm.
Food Rescue and Storage - Volunteers will help unload a delivery truck and store it our storage rooms. Volunteers must be able to lift boxes. Wednesdays at 7:30 am.
To volunteer for any of these opportunities, please email Liz Pearce, , or call 804-321-9548.
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Appication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC, 20250-9410, or call toll-free (866) 632-9992 (voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.