The Jefferson Area Community Food Pantry, which serves more than 80 families in the Jefferson and Somerville areas, continues to look for a permanent home this winter.
“If anyone has any ideas on how to help us, we want to hear it,” Pantry Director Alison Brooks said.
The pantry is currently housed at St. Giles Episcopal Church on Gardiner Road in Jefferson. Brooks said the pantry appreciates the space, but is looking for a larger location to set up a permanent facility.
“We are very pleased that St Giles continues to host us,” Mr Brooks said.
However, the large amount of food circulating in the pantry takes up most of the space provided by the church. Add to that the bulky freezers and storage units in the pantry and the busy schedule of 12 to 16 volunteers who facilitate food distribution, and limited space becomes a significant issue, Brooks said.
Because this space is first and foremost a church, pantry volunteers must perform a complete set-up and teardown each distribution day. Because the pantry stores food and supplies in the church’s basement, Brooks said the task requires climbing quite a few stairs. He said.
Because of the stairs, “the first thing I ask people who want to volunteer is, ‘How’s your knee doing?'” Brooks said. “It exhausts you. It’s hard work.”
Brooks said moving to a one-story facility would eliminate some of the stress on volunteers’ joints by eliminating the need to cart “thousands of pounds” of meat and other food from floor to floor. .
She noted that setting up and tearing down operations takes many hours of extra effort each week for pantry volunteers, especially Brooks herself.
Another feature Pantry is looking for is more parking. Brooks said the facility will need three acres of parking to accommodate the more than 80 families the pantry serves on its biweekly distribution days.
Brooks said she really wants to see an end to hunger and hopes the pantry can help reach that goal, but the cost of living crisis has made food insecurity even more prevalent.
“It’s getting scarier and scarier for working families,” she said. Older adults who live alone or don’t drive can also suffer from food insecurity.
Brooks said there are few options for purchasing groceries in the area, making Jefferson a kind of “food desert,” making the need for the services provided by the Jefferson Area Community Food Pantry even greater. .
Brooks said moving to a more appropriate space will allow the pantry to better serve those in need in the Jefferson and Somerville areas. However, finding the place was difficult.
“We just couldn’t find the right fit,” Brooks said.
Additionally, Brooks said the pantry has limited financial resources, making fundraising difficult to cover the cost of the food it distributes.
Mr Brooks said for now the pantry is happy to call St Giles’ home and will continue to serve the community from the building on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. The Pantry also plans to continue searching for a suitable permanent home in the Jefferson and Somerville areas where it can more effectively serve the community.
For more information about the Jefferson Area Community Food Pantry or to suggest an idea for a future location, call 315-1134, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find the organization on Facebook .