The News Herald (Willoughby, OH)

Food pantry seeking helping hands

Church food pantry needs volunteers, donations and box truck

- By Crystal Beaulieu cbeaulieu@news-herald.com

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.

 ??  ??
 ?? PHOTOS BY CRYSTAL BEAULIEU — THE NEWS-HERALD ?? Fresh produce, canned goods, meat and dairy are loaded into cars at Vineyard Community Church by the National Guard.
PHOTOS BY CRYSTAL BEAULIEU — THE NEWS-HERALD Fresh produce, canned goods, meat and dairy are loaded into cars at Vineyard Community Church by the National Guard.
 ??  ?? Ten National Guard members assist at the Vineyard Community Church food pantry.
Ten National Guard members assist at the Vineyard Community Church food pantry.
 ??  ?? Volunteers prepare 200 bags of meat and dairy.
Volunteers prepare 200 bags of meat and dairy.

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