Christian Outreach Alliance plans food drive later this month

Published 11:05 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

The Christian Outreach Alliance Food Pantry is calling on the community to help stock the shelves.

The Stock the Shelves campaign, which is the organization’s biggest and only fundraiser of the year, is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 27 from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

“We’re just so appreciative of the community, and the individuals that come by and want to help us in the feeding of those that need it,” said Nancy Bennett, volunteer and treasurer for the food pantry.

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Bennett said the food pantry serves a total of 1,337 people, which accounts for 664 families.

Of those individuals, 400 are under the age of 19, and 360 are 59 years of age or older.

“That just shows you that we serve a tremendous number of people who are least available to help themselves between young ones and older ones,” Bennett said.

The food pantry will be accepting canned food donations as well as monetary donations and is making it easy for people to give back.

“People don’t even have to get out of their car,” Bennett said. “We have people that will unload any canned goods or staples they bring. We have people that will be more than happy to accept checks, money orders or cash.”

For any food donations, Bennett said the pantry asks donors for no glass containers or oversized bulk goods to make distribution much easier for the people they serve.

The pantry gives out around 250 bags of food with around 8.5 pounds each week.

“We kind of look at it as anything that we receive is a blessing, and it helps us,” Bennett said. “If you give a canned good, that is one less we have to buy, and if you give money, we might could buy three canned goods for what you can buy one canned good.”

Bennett said the community has been a tremendous help, and they are hoping a big turnout on Oct. 27.

“We want everybody to feel they have a stake in our community, and we want everybody to understand that in order to have anything, you have to give back,” Bennett said. “Good comes from giving.”

Bennett said the pantry was founded in 1998 by the five downtown churches at the time –– First Presbyterian, which is now known as Cornerstone Presbyterian, Church Street United Methodist, First Baptist, St. Paul’s and the now-defunct First Christian.

The organization is only run by volunteers.

“We have no payroll. All of our dollars come from donations or grants,” Bennett said. “We get no federal funding; we don’t get United Way funding. We use every dollar to purchase food, pay the utilities, pay the insurance and that type thing.”

The food pantry also gets donations through canned food drives by the Lions Club at the Central Alabama Fair, schools, churches and civic organizations.