Woodland has a long history partnering with Merrick Community Services and so when they had to shift their staff to a different location, eight Woodland employees stepped in to keep a food shelf running at our church by stocking shelves, packaging food and handing out boxes curbside.
And the food shelf is busier than ever as we serve the wider community and members of Woodland Hills. We even started sending 10-12 food boxes to the Maplewood sheriff’s department to provide food on weekends when food shelves are closed.
The food shelf uses three sources to stock up. Second Harvest, a food bank working to end hunger through community partnerships, sends weekly shipments of staples like canned goods, fruit, produce, dairy, grains, rice and beans. Cub Foods’ “food rescue” provides items like fruit and bread that can still get to people before the expiration date. And finally, YOU have been a source. When we put out a call to the church body asking for cereal, we received a great response. Thank you to all you cereal contributors!
With so many people out of work and struggling to make ends meet, the need for the food shelf has increased significantly. We have seen an influx of first-time participants, many who bring mixed feelings of discouragement at the current situation as well as gratefulness for the resources that are available. Some come and wait in the drive-through line well before opening, others walk long distances and have to make tough choices about what they can carry home. Under these difficult circumstances, it is critical that the food shelf remains up and running and you are all helping to make this happen: thank you.
Through this ministry, we have seen first-hand how the pandemic is bringing people together. One woman came to pick up a box of food and brought a neighbor along to see if he could get a box, too. Later that day, the same woman drove up again with a different neighbor to pick up food for them. Then she returned a third time with yet another neighbor. People like her who are taking care of their neighbors inspire us!
Another food shelf recipient commented that she enjoyed receiving food from every food group and even desserts (life is short, eat dessert, right?) She wrote us a note saying, “The volunteers are caring, friendly, and hard-working and doing an excellent job and service for the community!”
This is the third time we’re saying this in one post, but we really want you to hear it when we say thank you. This food shelf is only running through your prayers and financial support.