As an article in Saturday’s Mirror said, “Millions of homeowners grow more food in their home gardens than they can possibly use, preserve, or give to friends.
“One out of six Americans needs food assistance, but their food pantry usually can’t provide fresh produce.
“Just because you are overwhelmed with your tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens or herbs, your apple crop is enormous, or you got tired of beans or peas doesn’t mean they should be left in the garden to rot.”
Gilmer has a food pantry, located at 210 Buffalo St., that serves an average of 400 families a month. Operated by the Ministerial Fellowship out of a building provided by Gilmer’s First Baptist Church, it is open from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. each Monday and Wednesday.
Mel Small, spokesman for the food pantry, says they would appreciate donations of any kind of fresh produce you may have to share.
Call the First Baptist Church office at 903-843-2572 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays if you have produce to donate, or bring it by the Food Pantry during the hours it is open.
An association with the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler has enabled the pantry to obtain food at 19 cents a pound—the cost of shelving it at the Tyler food bank.
More than 5,000 people are in the households to which the pantry distributes food.
With the bad economy, some people have sought aid from the pantry who never needed help before.
Family units are eligible for one box of food monthly in keeping with the recommendations of the Food Bank, said Dr. Don Warden, who helps coordinate the project.
The pantry recently received extra boxes of food to give out this summer to families with children under 18. They are awaiting signing a contract with the government before they can give this extra food out.
The pantry’s weekly schedule starts Monday morning as they open their building at 210 W. Buffalo St. in downtown Gilmer, and they begin distributing food to their clients.
An order is turned into the Food Bank through their Internet site by noon Monday.
Wednesday is another distribution day, and on Thursday, a group of volunteers takes a truck, sometimes with a trailer, to pick up the order, which is waiting at the Food Bank loading dock at 1:30 p.m.
“Because several hundred pantries are served from Tyler, they have to be organized in a very business-like fashion,” Dr. Warden said. “Our average order is around 3,000 to 3,500 pounds of canned goods, frozen foods and produce.”
This is located and they return to the Gilmer pantry, where volunteers from Etex Telephone are waiting to help unload.
A number of other volunteers also help out in filling boxes and in other ways.
“The Pantry is indebted to our volunteers and very proud of their contribution,” Dr. Warden said. “Without them, we could not operate. The same can be said about everyone who has contributed in any way to our operation.”