MONMOUTH — Petersen Health Care, the parent company of Legacy Estates and Courtyard Estates, donated a shopping cart filled with more than 300 pounds of food to First Christian Church’s Food Pantry Tuesday morning.
Petersen spent the month of February accruing donations through a number of different locations spread across Monmouth, including most banks and County Market. With the new drop-off points across town, this year’s drive was more successful than the previous year.
“I think it went really well. Expanding into the banks and County Market definitely helped, and we will be doing that again next year,” said Katy Carlson, Admissions and Marketing Coordinator for Legacy Estates. “This food drive is pretty awesome. Knowing that First Christian Church helps so many people here in town really gives you a sense of pride. It is nice to see everybody come together and participate, especially when it is helping people in this town, and the food is staying here.”
Scott Hines, who has been managing the food pantry for the past six years, was present Tuesday morning to oversee the drop-off of Petersen’s donations. Hines is tasked with scheduling volunteers to ensure someone is always available at designated hours for those in need. He also purchases food from one of two food banks, stocks and re-stocks the shelves.
“This really keeps a person busy. I can’t put into words what I get out of doing this, but I get more out of it than the people that get the food. This is absolutely one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done,” Hines said. “You begin to develop relationships with a lot of these people, and these relationships are really important. You never know what circumstances may come up in their lives where they need somewhere to go or someone to talk to. In developing these relationships, they are more likely to feel comfortable talking to someone at the church.”
According to Hines, the mission of First Christian Church is “to serve the people of the community in whatever way we can. We are commanded to serve one another, and I feel that is what the food pantries do.”
In addition to the traditional canned goods found at most every food pantry, First Christian Church maintains four refrigerators and two freezers in its pantry. This allows it to offer commodities such as meat and other cold items not usually available at pantries. However, as meat tends to be more expensive, it is also more elusive and highly sought-after.
“If someone is in a situation where they have to make a choice between food and medicine or heat, we hope we have relieved that burden, so they don’t have to make that choice,” Hines said. “Food drives tell me that places are willing to do whatever they can to help this community. These are community-oriented businesses, and they tend to see this as just an extension of their commitment to this community.”
Paper products are also constantly in demand at the food pantry. As they tend to be the most disposable of all goods offered, they are generally quick to fly off the shelves.
“This is something we can do. It is not just something for us, but for somebody else. At the end of the day, we leave here feeling like we have accomplished something. Volunteering here has been good for us, especially since we retired,” said Rosie Sexton, who along with her husband, Phil, helped unload Petersen’s shopping cart Tuesday morning. “Most of the time, people are very appreciative, and I have been amazed by how much they help each other. We had our eyes opened to the needs of others. You know you know it, but until you see it, it doesn’t really sink in. Our church is lucky to have people step up when the need is there, but we could always use more volunteers.”
First Christian Church’s food pantry is available from 9-11 a.m. Mondays and 1-3 p.m. Thursdays. Drop-offs can be made at any time.
This article was originally written and posted on the Monmouth Review Daily Atlas at the following link: http://www.reviewatlas.com/article/20160308/NEWS/160309777/0/SEARCH