The News Herald (Willoughby, OH)
Food pantry seeking helping hands
Church food pantry needs volunteers, donations and box truck
Vineyard Community Church in Wickliffe is in need of volunteers, donations and a box truck to continue operating its food pantry.
Since the pandemic began, the food pantry has not only continued but has expanded. The church made adjustments to keep things COVID-safe, such as masks, safe distancing, and having a drive-through instead of holding it inside.
The Ohio National Guard also assists them now that up to 300 families use the food pantry each week, according to food pantry coorganizer Denise Dworning.
From the start of the pandemic until this month, the food pantry brought in 10,000 families, which is up from the usual 6,200 families annually in years past, according to Vineyard Community Church associate pastor Jim Dworning.
“We have two churches here at Vineyard Community Church,” he said. “The people that attend Sunday morning services and those who come to the food pantry on Tuesdays.”
The pantry is open the first four Tuesdays of every month. It serves clients from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. but has recently opened by 2:30 p.m. due to the back up of cars waiting at that time, according to church Administrative Assistant Melinda Benes.
“By 2:30 we pray, then begin to allow our parking lot to fill with a sea of vehicles,” Benes said. “We begin the registration process then let them move to the main door where the National Guardsmen load the food into their trunks.
“We serve anyone who arrives in our parking lot by 6:30 p.m. so sometimes it takes us until after 7:30 to finish distribution.”
The church needs help throughout the day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to pack boxes of non-perishables, inventory, stock orders received from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and set up for distribution.
Volunteers are assigned to stations throughout the facility, for tasks from loading food onto carts, moving carts to the front for the National Guard, collecting trash and registering clients.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can call Vineyard Community Church at 440-944-4402.