He said there was a total of 675 families representing 1,765 individuals who received assistance during the month.
“The entire allotment of 131 commodity boxes was distributed, and we received 10 extra from another pantry,” he said.
The East Texas Food Bank in Tyler supplies the pantry’s food, and serves more than 200 agencies in 26 counties with sufficient food for over 14 million meals.
“These statistics are impressive, but pale into insignificance in view of the real story of individuals visiting our pantry,” Dr. Warden said.
Here are some of the individual testimonials:
An 80-year-old woman came in for the first time after living in Gilmer for 2 1/2 years. She had been working, but lost her job and unemployment ran out. She receives Social Security only, but finds it inadequate for rent, medicines and other necessities. She stated that she had brought her stepdaughter in before, but never needed help from the pantry for herself before.
“At 80, she is looking for employment, but needs help now,” Dr. Warden said.
A 35-year-old woman with five children at home picks up aluminum cans along the roads of East Texas, to sell for scrap. Without any skills, she has been unable to find work that would enable her to afford child care. Friends and family help, but “I couldn’t feed my family without the pantry.”
A 32-year-old mother of three visited in September for the third time this year. She explained that she is able to “get by” when she can find work, and “I only come to the pantry when it is really necessary.”
“These are just a few of the stories we hear repeated every time we open,” said Dr. Warden. He invited people to drop by the pantry at 208 Buffalo St. on Monday and Wednesday mornings and see their operation.
“Your prayers and support are needed and appreciated,” he said.