Our Lady’s Pantry is among the smallest food pantries in this community. Yet, an estimated 2,914 men, women, and children have enjoyed multiple meals last year from groceries received at our Pantry! These meals were made possible by you — either through your generous checks or your gift of service.
“Both of these gifts have allowed us to stay open to fight hunger, despite the challenges posed as COVID-19 swept through the community,” says director Tom Bullaro.
According to Bullaro, the Pantry placed 7,799 huge boxes of food (non-perishables, meat/poultry, bread/baked goods, fresh produce) into the cars of our registered clients from July 2019 through June 2020. More often than not, we added a second box heaping with fresh fruit and vegetables, and sometimes milk, fruit juice, and eggs — and occasionally more meat and poultry. One week we even had big turkeys to share with our largest families!
But that’s not all, Bullaro says. The burden of the economic shutdown and suffering caused by the virus for so many has caused widespread hardship. Individuals who rarely, if ever, sought food relief in the past, are now coming to the Pantry. In fact, we have provided hundreds of bags of groceries to persons we’ve never seen before.
The number of these new clients has mushroomed during this Pandemic. In the past fiscal year, for example, we have given unregistered clients 1,122 big bags of non-perishable foods/cereal, plus bread and baked goods. We add fresh produce when we can. We distributed more than half of those bags — 631 — in just the last calendar quarter, from April through June.
“Regrettably, this trend of need continues with an average 50 non-registered clients coming every week in hopes of feeding their families.
“One recent Saturday, in fact, of the 231 clients who came for food, a stunning 97 had never registered with us before,” says Bullaro. “This was a new high. We could not make our bags fast enough.
“Again, we can do what we do, because of your care of those in need. You not only sent us generous checks, so we could stay open when our monthly Project Hunger collections ended at Our Lady of Guadalupe and Prince of Peace. But you worked tirelessly at the Pantry, or driving our trucks, when our oldest volunteers, most at risk for the virus, were forced to stay home.
“If these clients continue to need our help as they struggle to get back on their feet, we hope to be here for them,” says Bullaro.
“Thank you for helping us stay open.”