A “WOW” from St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest

St. Michael’s Food Pantry

Less than 36 months ago Saint Michael’s Food Pantry was conceived as a community outreach program by our Priest The Reverend Helen Harper. The main goal was to meet an ever-growing need within the Ridgecrest community. From a somewhat meager beginning the Pantry is now a main player in eliminating hunger for those in need. Pantry days are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 9 to 11 am. Numbers are increasing each month. Most recent figures indicate well over 400 family members being provided with food on a monthly basis.

Restocking empty shelves after each pantry day is definitely a community effort. Pantry personnel travel the two hundred mile round trip to Bakersfield once or twice month to “shop” in the Community Action Partnership Kern (CAPK) warehouse. In addition several generous donors provide regular monetary and grocery donations. Likewise generous donors have provided new refrigerators and freezers. New shelving has also been acquired to meet the ever growing needs of our clientele. The local Big Lots store has been most generous in providing large donations of food items on a monthly basis. Food drives are held during the year in front of local grocery stores to help supplement requirements. The local Rotary Club routinely donates. There is a food basket outside the Church door to give individuals a chance to donate as able. The pantry participates in the annual U.S. Post Office food drive. During the school year local students from Mesquite High School work in the pantry to assist customers as they shop. From all of these efforts and others it is plain to see that Saint Michael’s Food Pantry is truly a community effort to serve local residents in need.

Many Saint Michael’s Pantry customers have expressed their gratitude for what is provided to them through the Church, and have noted how happy they are with the quantity and quality of the food products. But most of all they express appreciation for the dignity and respect with which they are treated. Drinks and snacks are provided to all as they wait their turn to shop. There is a lot of conversation and friendly interaction. A real sense of camaraderie and community is created each pantry day as both workers and customers interface during the two plus hour “event”.

The Saint Michael’s Pantry days certainly reflect the guidance of our own Bishop David that the real work of the Church takes place outside the four walls of the sanctuary and Sunday service.

Please send your Parish WOW to emeyer@diosanjoaquin.org

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