“Well, we certainly realized there was a great need, and we knew that the existing food banks just couldn’t handle everything,” said Randle. “We’re in the farming belt of the communities, and people need help and will continue to need help. I know that St. Vincent De Paul distributes food in Brentwood three times a week, but people eat more often than that. We were just trying to come up with a way to fill in the gaps.”
The three women met as part of an outreach program among St. Anne Catholic, Delta Community Presbyterian and Byron United Methodist churches created to find ways to avoid overlapping their charity work within the neighboring communities. Figuring that their coordinated efforts would be more effective, the churches decided to pool their resources, and the result was the Delta Christian Community Food Pantry.
Officially blessed by ministers from the each of the three churches on Oct. 19 at the Methodist church, where onsite distribution will take place, the pantry is now into its second week of the food giveaway, and Masterman said she’s thrilled with the response.
“It’s going fantastic,” said Masterman, a mission elder at Delta Community Presbyterian Church. “Each week we’ve had a few more families come and now it’s just a matter of getting the word out. We’re so grateful for all the help from volunteers and the community. It’s just been amazing.”
Those who arrive at the food pantry each Tuesday morning will receive a bag filled with perishable and non-perishable food items such as dried beans, pasta, tuna and peanut butter.
“This week we had the usual canned, dry items but we also had milk, eggs and cottage cheese,” said Randle. “It changes each time, but we’re just grateful to have the help. Anything we can avoid buying from the grocery store is good.”
Although food sources and other details are still being worked out, the food pantry is currently operating under the auspices of St. Vincent De Paul and is staffed by local volunteers from the churches and nearby communities. Included in the bags of groceries, recipients will also find spiritual information – in Spanish and English – along with housing information for homeless and low-income families, plus other informational literature.
“We want to find out what their situation is and help them any way we can,” said Masterman. “We’d eventually like to see 100 families a week. I would also like to find a way to bring food to people who can’t get out and pick it up themselves. There’s a lot we want to do, but for now, we’re just concentrating on getting the word out and helping the most people we can.”
The Delta Community Food Pantry will be giving away food Tuesday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Byron United Methodist Church, 14671 Byron Highway. Donation barrels are also being distributed throughout the communities for food drop-off. For additional information, volunteer opportunities or barrel locations, call 925-634-0184.