Saint Luke’s Food Pantry
What we do, who we serve, who we are
The St. Luke Food Pantry is a low-barrier food pantry that provides fresh, frozen and shelf stable food to its neighbors every Thursday morning. Neighbors may collect food every week and take as much food as they need, as long as the supply lasts.
The pantry serves approximately 42 households representing approximately 130 individuals every week. This translates into approximately 85 unique households per month representing approximately 275 individuals. The vast majority live on the Portland Peninsula and walk to the pantry. Approximately 30% of the households are led by individuals born in the U.S. and 70% are led by individuals born outside the U.S.
Pantry volunteers are primarily members of St. Luke’s congregation. Although, neighbors and the greater Portland Community have contributed significantly. St. Luke’s is a partner agency of Good Shepherd Food Bank (GSFB), and the Pantry purchases and gleans food from Wayside Food Programs. The Locker Project and the South Portland Food Cupboard lend their drivers and vans to pick up large distributions of food at Wayside and deliver them to St. Luke’s. The Episcopal Diocese of Maine has contributed food and awarded a domestic poverty grant; and GSFB and Catholic Charities have also awarded grants. Portland West has run ads at no charge. Big Sky, Rosemont and Folly 101 contribute food. Individual neighbors have volunteered and have contributed food.
Benefits of the Food Pantry
In addition to feeding the hungry, answering God’s call to help the needy and meeting the Cathedral Church of St. Luke’s mission to serve the city and the wider community, there are additional benefits for the neighbors who attend as well as for the volunteers.
Volunteers spend time with the Cathedral’s neighbors, get to know them as individuals, build trust and develop friendships. Volunteers derive joy from meeting the specific need of an individual neighbor who requires a vegan or gluten free diet. Food pantry volunteers are members of a committed, energetic team that appreciates and supports each other, and have fun working together at something to which they are committed.
Like the volunteers, the neighbors spend time with the volunteers, build trust and develop friendships. They also get to know their other neighbors develop friendships while they wait for their turn to get food, and learn to support each other. The neighbors want to give back and do so by helping the volunteers set up and contributing however they can. In return they feel respected for their contributions. And they learn that the Cathedral building that backs onto Park Street is a Church where they are welcomed and valued.
How can I get involved?
The Food Pantry needs a group of volunteers who can contribute time and talent in a variety of ways. On Tuesday mornings, 2-3 volunteers need to “shop” at Wayside, on Wednesday mornings, 3-4 volunteers need to sort, store food, and set up for Thursday’s distribution, and on Thursdays 5-6 volunteers need to distribute the food. On these three days, one or two of the volunteers need to be able to lift heavier cases of food. Some volunteers come every week, some come once a month. Some are snow birds who will return in time to fill in for year-round volunteers when they take their summer vacations.
For those who need a more flexible schedule or are unable to come into the Pantry, there are jobs that need to be done on a weekly basis (maintain the client roster, order the food and manage the inventory). There are jobs that need to be done on an as needed basis (write thank you notes, pay the bills, research and apply for grants, recruit, train and schedule volunteers). And, then there are one-and-done jobs (organizing a food drive).
Right now, there is a need for a communication person, someone who can design the website, write stories for the E’pistle, place ads in local newspapers, etc.
Anyone who would like to be involved, please contact Catherine Hyde ( email@example.com or 432-288-5805) or Nancy Brain (firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-776-3525