The Last 5th Sunday Food Drive of 2020 Needs Your Support

 In General, Ministry Village, Tender Hearts Caring Hands

November 29th is the last 5th Sunday Food Drive of 2020 and we need your help now more than ever. Our 5th Sunday Food Drives – a donation effort spearheaded by Olive Baptist Church members – have become a vital foundation of support for the Ministry Village Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry. And in a year full of crises – from health pandemics to hurricanes – that support has proven to be crucial.

In March 2020,the Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry changed to a drive-thru format to minimize contact and better protect clients and staff. Our THCH Director, Kathleen Schuster, and her team setup a tent each morning in the large parking lot behind the Ministry Village office. They loaded prepacked food bags from the pantry onto carts and arranged items under the tent. As the drive-thru hours drew near, cars would begin to lineup. “We were distributing about 3 times the number of family food bags that we normally gave out at that time of year,” says Kathie. “The drive-thru system worked well, and we were able to distribute food at a quicker pace than we would under the normal walk-in system, which was important since the demand was so much greater.”

THCH setup a drive-thru food pantry at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic Shutdowns in Northwest Florida

Despite the greater need for food when so many businesses and organizations shut down, Tender Hearts Caring Hands was one of the few food pantries still operating. “It was a challenge to keep items stocked. Fortunately, we had a tremendous donation drive just before Easter, led by Olive Baptist Church. That really helped restock our shelves. And seeing the support from our community really encouraged our team.” Olive Baptist Church members weren’t the only people supporting the food pantry. “We’ve had donations from many community and nonprofit organizations all year who were looking for ways to help. We’ve also had several individuals from throughout our community who knew the work we were doing and wanted to contribute.”

In 2019, Tender Hearts Caring Hands provided 2,357 people with food assistance, and helped many individuals beyond that with financial assistance for their utilities, rent, mortgage, or gas. Sadly, 2020 is on pace to be a record-breaking year for assistance, with more than 2,200 people receiving food assistance through September – an average of 50 more families per month so far this year.

Families who have never before needed help with food are asking for help this year. So many of our neighbors have been impacted by the financial shutdowns and hurricane damage in 2020. This is a time for all of us to be able to show the love of Jesus to our neighbors and help them see that He can provide for their needs. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” The Tender Hearts Caring Hands food pantry provides us an opportunity to demonstrate God’s care to others. We have a chance to show God’s love to our community.

Let’s take the script we were given of a dismal 2020, and instead, make 2020 about hope.

Let’s show the world WHO our Jesus is.

  • The 5th Sunday Food Drive will be accepting donations on Sunday, November 29th at Olive Baptist Church. Tables will be setup for collection in the foyer, the ROC, and the preschool wing.
  • All nonperishable items are accepted. Items that are currently in high need include grits, oatmeal, dry beans, and cans of spaghetti sauce. We are also specifically requesting holiday food items at this time of year so we can bless families in need for Christmas. These items include boxed stuffing, canned pumpkin, boxed mashed potatoes, jars of gravy, canned vegetables, and canned cranberry sauce. If you would like to make a financial donation toward purchasing turkeys to give families for Christmas, please contact Kathie Schuster at Ministry Village – 850-475-1118.
  • The Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry accepts donations Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 2PM at the Ministry Village at Olive office (1716 E. Olive Road). Donations of nonperishable food items and travel-size hygiene items are accepted. Financial donations are appreciated and go toward purchasing the items THCH distributes each day. Supporters can also make purchases through Amazon and items can be shipped directly to the Ministry Village at Olive office (1716 E. Olive Road, Pensacola, FL 32514).
  • The Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry provides food to those who qualify Monday-Friday from 10AM to 12noon at the Ministry Village office (1716 E. Olive Road). Follow the Ministry Village at Olive Facebook page for updates. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work diligently to meet everyone’s needs while following CDC safety guidelines.
  • To donate financially to Tender Hearts Caring Hands or any Ministry Village program, click here.

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