For those who attended the Soup Cook-Off, it was wonderful to hear the good news presented by the Thrivent representatives. We have received our $5000.00 grant with the challenge grant for $5000.00 which expires on March 31, 2014. It is wonderful to be recognized as a church that meets the mission of feeding the poor, but the need is still greater than our resources. Jack’s remaining budget from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is $1700, which has to last him until the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, 2014.
As you may not realize, there are still two food distributions remaining, one at Easter and one on June 9. However, the scheduled distributions are not the only time that food is given to the hungry. In January alone, Jack served 44 families who called for emergency food supplies. Unfortunately, because of the limited budget, these families receive no perishables which are often the things they need most. It is the food pantry’s hope that with the extra donations being given that we can actually include these necessities every time we give out food. Even though Jack can purchase food from the food banks at a reduced rate, the perishables are purchased at the going rate for everyone. Just to provide a gallon of milk for everyone costs over $1000. We routinely feed 270 families at each food distribution at a cost of about $40 per family which tallies to over $10,000 per distribution. It is pretty amazing that Jack can find enough food to fill three or four cartons and still keep the cost to $40 per family, but the need continues to grow daily. Jack normally receives about four calls for food per week in between the scheduled distributions from new as well as our regular clients. The Federal Government just signed a bill that will reduce the food stamp program by nine billion dollars over the next few years. That cut will dramatically affect our clients and we expect the phone calls to increase.
The hygiene kits that you are making through the efforts of Sharon and Mason Phillips are a fantastic gift for our clients since we usually need to spend our funds on food and not “luxury” items like toothpaste and toothbrushes. Most of us have no concept of how these folks struggle to meet every day just to survive. All that you do through packing (scheduled for March 22 and 29 at 8:30 a.m.); donating household items, toys and clothing; setting up the sanctuary and most importantly, giving your monetary donations helps to insure the success of the Grace Lutheran Food Pantry.