By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Who doesn’t look forward to Spring? It’s a time of renewal when temperatures warm and some vibrant colors return. But for some people, their hope for “renewal” at this time of year revolves around a renewal of community support.
Yes, it’s that time of year again when The Lord’s Pantry in Shinnston and its satellite at the Ten Mile Baptist Church host their “Spring Up To Stop Hunger” campaign. This will be the fifth year that the months of March and April will be focusing on bringing in donations to help them help the hungry.
A recent government report showed startling numbers of families in the U.S. who were unable to put food on the table at some point last year. Among those were millions of children who went to bed hungry at night. And many times these families in need do have at least one adult in the household who is working.
The numbers are high across the nation, but don’t forget that those struggling within our immediate area are part of those national totals. In 2018, the Lord’s Pantry served 2,931 families with a total of 7,505 individuals.
If you are among those who are blessed to be able to take care of your family without assistance, stop and consider how much you spend on food, personal care items and cleaning supplies each month. Now imagine the expense that local food pantries have helping nearly 3,000 families who are not as fortunate as you!
Director Sandra Haggerty noted that the Lord’s Pantry has been serving families in the Lincoln High School Attendance Area since the early 1990’s, operating entirely on donations. And let’s not forget the volunteers who give of their time and service to keep it running!
“In order to be able to carry out the mission of feeding those in need in our area, it takes an average of 40 volunteers each month, offering an average of over 460 hours a month. On a regular basis, there is always someone doing something at the Lord’s Pantry and at our satellite. They are stocking shelves, picking up purchases, making needed repairs, picking up donations, doing paperwork, bagging food for distribution, sweeping floors, driving the U-Haul to and from the Food Bank, etc.,” Mrs. Haggerty added.
If you do the math, that becomes a total of at least approximately 5,600 hours of UNpaid volunteer service during a year’s time … because no one receives a salary or stipend of any kind.
“We simply could not do what we do if it weren’t for our fantastic volunteers,” Mrs. Haggerty continued. “Nor could we serve so many families without the generosity of individuals, churches, organizations and businesses in our area who make donations – whether it is food and supplies or monetary offerings that we utilize to ‘fill the gaps’ where we may have a need.”
Those needs never disappear. The Lord’s Pantry always welcomes donations as well as extra volunteers!
The following breakdown of donors and expenditures was offered for the year 2018: 43% of donations were received from individual donors, 30% from churches, 12% from businesses, and 6% from miscellaneous sources. 74% of the pantry’s funds were spent directly for food, with the remaining 26% going towards supplies, refrigeration needs, utilities, U-Haul rentals and fuel for Food Bank pickups, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies.
“To those who have helped the Lord’s Pantry in the past, we thank you so much! If you have not yet helped us, we extend an invitation to you to become a new donor,” Mrs. Haggerty added. “Donations of any size help make an impact as we continue to serve those among us who struggle to make ends meet. We ask for continued support from the community as we launch our 5th “Spring Up To Stop Hunger” campaign that will continue through March and April.”
The Lord’s Pantry is a 501 C (3) non-profit agency, and contributions are critical to its continued successful operation. Donations may be sent to: The Lord’s Pantry, PO Box 64, Shinnston, WV 26431. If they so choose, contributors may also earmark their donation to a specific cause, such as meat, cleaning supplies, backpack program, personal hygiene, etc. Donations of food may be taken directly to the Lord’s Pantry at 77 Church Court in Shinnston or to its satellite at the Ten Mile Baptist Church in Dola.
In addition to food distribution, the Lord’s Pantry also participates in the CSFP Senior Box Program and the backpack programs at Lumberport Elementary, Lincoln Middle, and Big Elm Elementary schools.
In addition, if you purchase from Amazon, you can make donations when purchasing from this vendor. Amazon will donate .5% of your purchase price to the Shinnston Lord’s Pantry at http://smile.amazon.com/ch/5500729703. Or it is also possible to make a donation when you tweet: @AmazonSmile.
For more information about volunteering or to inquire about current needs, please contact the Lord’s Pantry at 304-592-0637 or 304-783-4601.