By Michelle Caceres
Lamb of God Lutheran Church, in partnership with Feeding America is proud to launch its community food bank, recently named Open Hands Community Food Pantry.
The hunger relief organization that provides food to more than 45 families in the Lithia community, is located on the campus of Lamb of God Lutheran Church, located at 10540 Browning Rd. in Lithia, on the southeast corner of Lithia Pinecrest and Browning Rds., the pantry, a partnership between Lamb of God and Feeding America, is open for business every Tuesday from 5 p.m.–7 p.m.
Patrons begin lining up in front of the church an hour before the pantry opens, waiting patiently with others who are down on their luck to receive much-needed supplies and a bit of encouragement and kindness.
Pantry coordinator Joe Garcia says the stories behind the faces are as varied as the faces themselves. In a typical week he may see people who are facing major medical illnesses who have lost the ability to work, elderly individuals trying to supplement their meager social security income, former inmates in the process of becoming productive members of society or migrant workers who aren’t paid enough to support their families.
Reverend Mark Wood said his entire church community has been supportive of the food bank. In November, the child care center and congregation had a canned food drive, collecting hundreds of canned goods. On December 7 and 8, the church will host its annual living nativity festival and he is asking visitors to bring canned goods to support the food bank.
“God has blessed us by helping us fill the shelves and providing everything we need,” said Wood.
Blessings have also come by way of able-bodied volunteers willing to give of their time, including Katlyn Kurtz, 19, who has been volunteering at the food bank since it opened, filling boxes and organizing shelves. Even though she no longer needs community service hours for school (she graduated from Newsome High), she says she enjoys helping those who need it.
With no overhead, one hundred percent of all monetary donations go to assisting families with their food needs.
For more information about the Open Hands Community Food Pantry visit www.lambofgodlithia.org or call Garcia at 920-570-0232.