Walmart Grant Helps Tender Hearts Caring Hands Expand Food Pantry

When Ministry Village at Olive moved in 2019 from its original location at 1830 E. Olive Road to its current location at 1716 E. Olive Road (next door but on Ministry Village property), the Tender Hearts Caring Hands food pantry space was reduced from a double car garage to a single car garage. To meet food storage requirements, the space had to be very carefully planned and executed. New shelves were built and installed by volunteers, and the space was made as functional and efficient as possible. However, the limited storage space also reduced the quantity of food Tender Hearts could provide to its clients. In addition, restrictions on the use of the space prevented the storage of hygiene items, something our homeless clients depend on and greatly appreciate. The MVO team knew it needed to find a better long-term solution for the food pantry and began looking into options.

In the fall of 2019, Jeremy Portmann, Executive Director of Ministry Village at Olive, was introduced to Steve Williams. Mr. Williams was the manager of the Walmart in Destin and told Jeremy that the community work done by Ministry Village – especially Tender Hearts Caring Hands – was just the sort of thing that Walmart loved to form partnerships around. With the THCH Food Pantry needs in mind, Jeremy and Kathleen Schuster, Director of Tender Hearts Caring Hands, worked together to apply for a local Walmart community grant. Thanks to Mr. Williams’ help, Ministry Village was awarded a grant in late 2019 to provide a better food storage solution for the food pantry. Using the funds awarded, Ministry Village set out to renovate a Conex shipping container that was previously used at the Ministry Village Bargain Center for additional storage. Initial plans included installing electricity and air conditioning to provide a climate-controlled environment for food storage.

As Kathleen explains, “The container renovation will double the Tender Hearts food storage shelf space, allowing us to expand the amount of food provided to our community. But also, by reallocating the food storage space, we will be able to expand our storage of hygiene products to help the homeless. We’ve got some great ideas for new ways that we can bless our community because of the options this new space offers us. I’m so excited to see how the Lord will use our Tender Hearts ministry over the next year.”

In next week’s story, learn the details of the Food Pantry makeover, and see pictures showing its progress and the unveiling of the newly renovated storage space!

🥫 The Ministry Village Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry continues its normal operation. Each weekday, Tender Hearts is open to help. Those who qualify can receive 1 family food bag (designed to feed a family of 4 for 3 days) every 6 months. Requirements include a photo ID, social security number and income criteria. For more details, visit the Ministry Village at Olive website.

📦 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, behind Olive Baptist Church). Donations of nonperishable food items and travel-size hygiene are accepted. Financial donations are also 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.

🚙 The most up-to-date food pantry drive-thru hours are posted on the Ministry Village at Olive Facebook page. The Food Pantry drive thru is weather permitting. Hours vary by day and are subject to change. 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.

🙏 The mission of Ministry Village at Olive is to put the words of Jesus into action throughout our community – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV) If you are looking for a place to demonstrate kindness to others for the glory of God, give us a call. We have opportunities through the Bargain Center; at our Tender Hearts Caring Hands benevolence program and food pantry; through the Most Excellent Way addiction support groups; at the Charis House; and at the Ministry Village Early Learning Center. Visit our volunteer page to signup, or call our office at (850) 473-4466.

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