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A Micro-Pantry to Combat Food Insecurity

Written by Mike Brown, Evangelism Director


I grew up in a single parent household whose only source of income was Survivor’s Social Security. There wasn’t always a lot of money to go around. A check came once a month and my mother had to make it stretch. She usually did a pretty good job. However, I remember one time when I was about 8 years old, I was cutting the grass at my grandmas house, I forget the exact circumstances, but I ran over that month’s social security check with the lawnmower. And just like that we were in a dire situation. The next two weeks before the replacement check came were extremely difficult. I remember that we ate at grandmas house several times before that check came because we did not have the resources to make meals at home.


Many families in America find themselves in similar situations. All of a sudden they are food insecure, and have to make decisions like do I buy medicine or food? According to Feeding America, “food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life” [1]. The 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment for the County of Will reports that “food insecurity in Will County effects nearly 10% of all residents, of which even more have no access to healthy food retailers. Of the more than 34,000 children experiencing food insecurity, 46% are ineligible for assistance programs” [2]. In addition to food insecurity, many Will county residents are reported to live in food desserts, “there are 81 neighborhoods in Will County that are within food deserts, affecting approximately 437,000 residents, located in or around Joliet. Also, 31.8% of the population do not have access to healthy foods” [2].


While there is no current data for 2021, after a year-and-a-half of a pandemic, millions of Americans have been introduced to this reality. Through no fault of their own, people are finding themselves without a job or with a lesser job than they had pre-COVID. In Will county, unemployment jumped from 4.3% in March of 2020 to 16% in April of 2020 [3]. Unfortunately, I think it’s safe to say that the number of people living in food insecurity hasn’t improve since the 2019 report. Even with governmental supplement programs, households are falling short of being able to feed their families consistently.


Food insecurity doesn’t have an easy fix. There are many variables that play into it, but one thing we can do as individuals and as a church is support our community by providing food stuffs to those in need. This month Messiah is in the process of developing and stocking a micro-food pantry that will be housed in one of the closets across from the church office. This ministry will be 100% donation driven and maintained by the Evangelism board. The location of MLC at Jefferson and Houbolt makes it a good location for this type of pantry. Our church office gets as many as 12 people a month walk in to the office looking for some type of help. Both individuals who are living out of their car and looking for food stuffs for a couple of days and parents just looking to feed their children a decent meal come to us for help.


Your support for this ministry has the potential make a difference in the life of 100 plus people a year. Ways you can help:

1. Pray for this ministry and those it will serve.

2. Cash or check with micro-pantry in notes

3. Can goods with pull tops

• Chicken

• Fruit or vegetables

• Peanut butter (creamy as some people have bad teeth)

Juice boxes

• Tuna

• Chicken or tuna packs with crackers

• Pasta in bags or boxes

• Pasta sauce

• Caned meat

• Vegetable or fruit cups

• Mac and cheese

• Individual cereal cups

• Granola bars

• Individual trail mix or nut packs


Galatians 6:2, Luke 6:31, 1 John 4:21


When the church comes together to support others we are fulfilling Gods command to love others as we love ourselves. Help us make a difference. God bless you. Mike Brown, Evangelism Director.


References:


[1] Feeding America. (2021). What is food insecurity. Retrieved from https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/understand-food-insecurity/

[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate in Will County, IL. (2020). Retrieved May 27, 2021 from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/ILWILL7URN [3] Will County MAPP Collaborative 2020. (2020). Will county community health needs assessment. Retrieved May 27, 2021 from https://willcountyhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Will-CountyCHNA-2019-DRAFT-10.23.19-3.pd

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