Mobile pantry provides food for 150 familes

Published 10:28 pm Friday, July 24, 2009

One hundred and fifty Pike County families received more than 100 pounds of food from the Montgomery Area Food Bank Friday via the Bush Memorial Baptist Church Mobile Pantry.

The Friday mobile pantry was the third and largest mobile food pantry sponsored by Bush Memorial. The prior food pantries had topped 100 families served. Kathy Gibson, church secretary, coordinated the effort and said the food supply for Bush tops out at 150 for each mobile food pantry.

“We probably could serve more than 150, but then we would have to cut back on the quantity of food that is distributed,” Gibson said. “We don’t want to do that.”

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The Bush Memorial Mobile Pantry is offered quarterly to eligible residents of the Pike County area and a special mobile pantry is planned for the Christmas season.

Eligibility is based on income and the number of people in a family. Those at or below the poverty level are eligible as are those who receive food stamps and SSI and those who are unemployed or are having difficulty meeting medical expenses.

“The food pantry is a large part of our benevolent outreach program,” Gibson said. “We wanted to do the most good possible with our outreach program, and the mobile pantry is the way that we think we reach the most people. Today, 150 families received nearly 100 pounds of food each. That’s a value of about $116. And there’s a good variety of food including fresh produce, tomatoes, peaches and watermelons.”

The pantry stock comes to the Montgomery Food Bank from companies such as Publix and NutraSystem. Some of the foods are nearing the expiration dates. Some are product over runs, and the produce is usually reaching the soft stage and needs to be used quickly. But all of the food is good quality.

The Bush Memorial Mobile Pantry on Friday distributed 11,871 pounds of food that would have cost $17,687.79 at the supermarket.

Bush Memorial incurs some expense in offering the mobile food pantry to the community, but Gibson said the return on the money is tremendous.

“It’s good to be able to help so many people,” she said.