Food bank assists neighbors in needBy Staff Reports Published 12:00am Friday, May 19, 2006
The Demopolis Food Pantry was established in the early 1980′s, and was started to help provide food for elderly residents in the local community that were unable to qualify for other food programs.
The volunteers, who solely operate the mission, are from several different churches in the area.
Trinity Episcopal Church plays an important role in the charity.
Food is packed into paper bags and distributed by volunteers every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m.
Besides canned goods and non-perishable food items, the food pantry always needs paper bags to distribute the food.
New volunteers are welcome to participate, and anyone interested can come by at 8:30 a.m. on any Wednesday.
“We are all volunteers and this is a community effort,” Byrd Rish said.
Most of the people receiving food from the charity are disabled or are elderly citizens.
Eligible recipients are residents of Demopolis, and also meet the income guidelines set out by the USDA.
In the late 1980′s, the food pantry was moved to the back room of the Jewish Synagogue, B’Nai Jeshurun, where it is still located.
When the group first started, they would distribute food to approximately 12 people every week.
The food pantry has grown a great deal since it was first established a number of years ago.
In 1997, the organization distributed food to over 4,500 people, and for 2003, the organization had distributed food to over 7,000 people.
The Demopolis Food Pantry currently distributes food to approximately 200 people every week.
The Demopolis Food Pantry is dependent on contributions to function.
Food that is not donated has to be purchased.
A large portion of the food the organization provides is purchased from the West Alabama Food Bank and costs 16 cents per pound to buy.
The Demopolis Council of Church Women made generous financial contributions to the Demopolis Food Pantry.
The Bargain Box, which is operated by the Demopolis Council of Church Women, sells donations they receive from the community, which includes clothes and a wide range of other items from magazines to stuffed animals.
The Demopolis Council of Church Women also made contributions to other organizations and causes.
“This is a service group and it is all volunteer help. We recently gave $5,000 in scholarships to DHS students,” Iona Watts, Bargain Box volunteer, said.
Donations of all kinds (such as clothes and household items) would be helpful, and new volunteers would be greatly appreciated.
“We have a drop box for donations and Mondays is work day,” Ion Watts said.
The Bargain Box is open on Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. until noon, and 8:00 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.