I would like to spend a couple of minutes giving you a status report on a mission that is very near and dear to all of our hearts here at OPC. As you know, the Food Pantry has been an important mission here for many decades.
We also know the love and passion we have shared with those in our community that are less fortunate than we are. Today, as we all know, the economic situation has gotten dramatically worse in the last year. In Georgia, our own unemployment rate is expected to reach double digits in the next month or two. Imagine that—1 out of every 10 people in our community will not be working and will have a much more difficult time putting food on the table for themselves and for their families.
The Food Pantry has not been spared this economic plight. In 2005 we served 562 families. In 2006 = 592, 2007 = 523 and in 2008 = 824. That’s a 58% increase in the number of families over the previous year. Many of our members and volunteers have continued to see our food supply dwindle in the Food Pantry.
At the same time, food costs continue to rise. Currently a 3 bag supply of staple items costs about $23.59. Now that doesn’t sound like much, but keep in mind that these are just the basic staples that are needed to put some food on the table. If you project that out to the 824 families that we helped last year, we spent $19,438 to supply our Food Pantry. That works out to about $374 per week.
As of the end of February our OPC Food Pantry Fund only had $513.58 left in it. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that that’s not going to last too long. The wonderful folks on the Outreach committee and all of our fantastic Food Pantry volunteers have become much more resourceful and creative in recent months.
Our wonderful women of OPC continue a long tradition of Bargain Shop sales and continue to keep the Food Pantry fund in the black. As we speak, the ladies are preparing for another sale to be held April 3rd and 4th, so as you are doing your spring cleaning don’t forget to drop off those unwanted items here at OPC. Remember one person’s trash may be another’s treasure.
In recent weeks we have sent letters out to our surrounding community to ask for their help—and they have responded. Brookhaven Christian Church sponsored a food drive during their annual Christmas tree sale. The response was overwhelming. Our friends at St. Martin’s have sponsored a food drive of their own and another one is in the works. Many of you continue to bring in items and place them in the shopping cart in the lobby each Sunday. Others continue to donate financially and bless each and every one of you for doing that.
But even with all of this support OPC, our Food Pantry, but most of all, our local community continues to face severe hardships and challenges. With that in mind, I am asking to not only continue your compassion for our Food Pantry mission, but to also prayerfully remember those who are less fortunate than we are.
Now is not the time to become complacent—we should all become more resourceful and help this cause in any way that we can. Now is not the time to become shy—do not be afraid to become more creative and ask others to help this mission out in any way that they can. And, most importantly, keep those prayers coming. Amen.