Thanks to the construction of an additional warehouse, customers at the Downtown Food Pantry are receiving more food per visit.
“God blessed us with an additional 2,500 square foot warehouse which was completed in October. Consequently, we can now temporarily store more food which means we can give more out which is what we’re here to do,” said Executive Director Allan Hubbard.
The pantry follows a choice-style model making it much like a grocery store. Customers “shop” for items from shelves and on a bonus line, choosing what they know members of their household can and will eat.
Households of between 1-3 people now receive between 15-26 pounds. Households of 4-6 now receive 32-40 pounds. Customers receive a shopping list itemizing the number of proteins, vegetables, grains, cereals, and can/dried fruit they can receive based on the size of their family.
“That’s just the frozen meats, cans, and packages from our shelves. On top of that, Operations Director Chuck Burton always makes sure there are 13 bonus items like milk, bread, butter, lunchmeat, fresh produce, and some specialty items which rotate depending on what’s available in our ordering system,” Hubbard said.
A family of 4 leaves with about $150 worth of groceries. The only qualifier is the customer must reside in Lamar County. A family can visit every other week for a total of 26 times per year if needed.
The new warehouse was made possible by the Roy and Skeeter Davis Family Foundation based n Cunningham, Texas, in addition to an anonymous local construction materials supplier. Billy Spencer with George Spencer Construction was the contractor.
“Billy and the local companies he sub-contracted with did an incredible job for us at a reasonable price,” Hubbard said.
Downtown Food Pantry helped 9,298 people in 3,389 households in Lamar County in 2021, which represents 19% of the county population. Almost two million pounds of groceries were given away which provided 1.6 million meals.
Plans are underway to pave the parking lot in 2022 “as God sends us the funds. Concrete is really expensive right now,” Hubbard said. “We’re incredibly thankful to the many, many churches, businesses and individuals plus local foundations like Paris Legacy, RAM Foundation and United Way, who make this mission happen. People are fed thanks to local generosity.”
Food is distributed every Tuesday 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Thursday 8:30-11:30 a.m. at 124 W. Cherry St. For more information, visit downtownfoodpantry.org.