Each month we chat with food pantries that have signed up with AmpleHarvest.org and share the conversation here. It’s a great way to learn more about the kind people behind food pantries in your community. Plus it’s a great reminder to encourage gardeners to share their abundance this upcoming growing season.
Interested in having your food pantry featured? Contact [email protected]
This month we are happy to highlight Tracy Interfaith Ministries in Tracy, California
What is your name and how many years you have been involved with the food pantry?
Carrie Grover, Executive Director since January 2020
What can you tell us about the community you serve?
We serve low-income families in our community. Some are unhoused, but the majority are families with homes and jobs who just need a little help making ends meet.
How did you first get involved with the pantry you manage?
I started as a volunteer when my kids were finally all in school and I had more time on my hands. I loved it so much that I decided to take on the role of executive director!
Can you share an inspirational story or memorable experience about the food pantry and community your serve?
I had a family come in recently who had a 2 year old and a 2 month old. The parents were both out of work due to Covid and disability. We were able to set them up to receive food once a week, get them diapers, and pay their rent for a month (in conjunction with another agency). They were three days away from being evicted. They were so grateful and we were so happy that they were able to stay in their home with food and clothing for their children.
I also had two young sisters who were living together in an RV come in who hadn’t eaten for two days. So many of us take for granted that we will always have our next meal whenever we want it.
What would you like to tell gardeners in your community about the food pantry?
We live in a fairly agricultural area with fruits and vegetables growing all around us, but some families still do not have access to it. If you have extra that you could bring to us, we would be so grateful!
What is something you wish your community knew about your food pantry?
We are often the last stop for people in desperate situations, and we are so grateful to be able to help them with much more than just food. We also provide clothing, hygiene kits, blankets, hats, socks, coats, and household items. We also help families pay rent and utility bills in emergency situations and give out Thanksgiving meals, Christmas gifts, and backpacks full of school supplies.
How can your community continue to support you?
The best way people can help is either by donating time, money, or items to us. We desperately need volunteers and we spend about $10,000 a month purchasing food to give out to our clients, so financial contributions are critical as well.
How important are fresh produce donations to your food pantry and what is requested most by your clients?
Fresh produce is a luxury to clients who are tired of canned vegetables. Our clients love limes, oranges, apples, and berries!
Anything else you would like to share?
I hope that gardeners realize how important their donations are to those who can’t afford to feed their families and how much it means to them. Your donations really make their day and bring a big smile to those who often don’t have much to smile about.