Downtown Food Pantry Receives Campbell’s Donations
Recently, Campbell’s donated 300 cases of food to the Downtown Food Pantry; 300 cases consisting of Campbell’s Soup, Pace sauce, and Prego sauce. It took a trailer to haul all the food over to Cherry Street. Unloading the pallets proved to be a challenge, as every case of food had to be switched over to other pallets, to allow Clint, David, and John to move the food from the pallets to the stocking floor. [John informed us that this much food would last for one day.] After Clint Mcmillan of Toyota of Paris and David Claxton of InParisTexas unloaded all of the food, the director John took everyone, including myself and Carol Mcmillan, on a tour of the Food Pantry. First, we walked to the entrance so that we could see what visitors and partakers see when they first show up at the Pantry. Walking through the double doors, there is a front desk area. Newcomers are run through a 15-20 minute screening process in the nearby office, set up with computers, chairs, and desks. People who have visited before wait until it is their turn to enter the waiting area that lies just beyond the front desk.
People show up twice a week on Tuesdays at 1:30-4:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 8:30-11:30 a.m. They line the block around the building, waiting for their chance to come in and shop for their family. The Downtown Food Pantry goes thru about 2-3,000 pounds of food a day. They serve over 1700 families a month. When it comes time for people to do their shopping, they walk through another door that lies beyond the waiting area. There are shopping carts lined up on the right. Before them lies shelf after shelf of food. Juices, pastas, sauces, rice, fruits, vegetables, cereals, formula, diapers, and much more. The food items are all color coded, and according to the family size, people pick up so much of each item. They can pick and choose which varieties they want to pick up. There are a few people that walk around, helping others with their shopping. The rest of the volunteers in the Food Pantry on open days, are there to assist with counting and bagging items, to ensure that shoppers pick up what they are allowed.
John told us that nobody is turned away. In the two plus years that they have been operating, they have never had to tell someone no. The Downtown Food Pantry receives their food and other supplies from the North Texas Food Bank. Here within six months, the Downtown Food Pantry will be operating as a hub. Which means that they will not just serve Lamar County or Paris, Texas, although the people they help mostly come from Lamar County. When the Downtown Food Pantry first opened, most of the volunteers came from within the First United Methodist Church. Now, the volunteers are spread out, coming from different churches, Paris Junior College, and even people that have received help from the Downtown Food Pantry.
The upcoming Paris Texas Zombie Walk is a venture that will raise money and food for the Downtown Food Pantry. There is a rough season coming up for the people who live in our community. Please come out and support the Zombie Walk on October 22nd. All money proceeds will go directly to the Downtown Food Pantry. This is a great cause and a much needed service.