28 Oct UB Pastors and Wives at the Holly Hill Food Pantry
A service project concluded the Pastors and Wives Summit held October 20-23, 2014, in Daytona, Fla. Everyone went to the nearby Holy Hill UB church to help with their food pantry. This is a huge operation, serving hundreds of people. The pantry is open every Tuesday and Thursday, Tuesday being the busier day. This was a Thursday, but there was plenty of work to do.
The group arrived at the church at 9 am. Chuck McKeown, pastor of UBIC Holly Hill, greeted everyone, led them in prayer, and gave them instructions. About half of the pastors and wives worked in an open-air building sorting food to be given out later that morning, while the other half worked in an enclosed building sorting food which would be taken elsewhere.
They have a great system in place. Food is sorted into banana boxes and placed on a conveyor belt, which takes them outside, where the boxes are placed on large carts. The carts are then rolled to a covered shelter. From 10 am to 1 pm, cars enter the property, with a lane going on each side of the covered shelter. Volunteers load the vehicles with the boxed food and other items, like cleaning supplies. The food recipients don’t even need to leave their vehicles.
Originally, the church opened the pantry for anyone. However, they were drawing people from all over the region, and it became unmanageable. So, they restricted it to persons from Holly Hill. As cars arrive, volunteers screen them to see if they are from Holly Hill and if they qualify for the free food.
It’s quite an operation, and it takes a large number of volunteers plus a lot–a LOT–of money. The church owns several large trucks (one of them refrigerated) which can pick up donated food and also take left-over food to other places.
The food pantry also serves hot meals to the homeless and prisoners–nearly 12,000 meals in 2013.
Some stats from 2013:
- Retail value of food given away: $2.2 million.
- Food boxes distributed: 36,816.
- Volunteer hours given: 25,000+.
- Total pounds of food distributed: 1.2 million.
Over 100 photos from the food pantry service project have been posted on the UB Facebook page.