By CHRIS AGEE
The food pantry at First United Methodist Church has long been one of several resources for local families in need to receive necessities.
According to Rev. Lianne Turner, the pantry will extend its hours to better serve clients. New hours are 9 a.m.-noon, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with additional hours Thursday, 6-8 p.m.
Tammy Lovell, FUMC food pantry chair, said the evening hours will likely be most useful to working families.
“They may be working, just getting off work, and we want to be able to offer them extra hours,” she said, adding the goal is “to make it more readily available for people.”
The pantry’s successful Backpack Buddies program is organized with the school district, but Lovell said it will continue throughout the summer.
“If any child needs the food, they can get it,” she explained.
Parents who might not otherwise be able to visit the church and pick up those packages now have additional time in the evening to make the trip.
“We’re trying to be more flexible to meet people’s needs,” she added.
In order to help others, Lovell said the pantry relies on the generosity of local supporters.
She invited anyone interested in helping to food bank to donate popular items such as peanut butter, rice, beans and pasta.
“If anybody wants to do a food drive, we’re always looking for help in any way,” she added.
Anyone seeking assistance should bring photo identification; they can make four visits per year.
“If they need it more than that, the pastor would look at the situation and see,” Lovell explained.
She noted the pantry is interested in more than meeting immediate needs, adding repeat clients often need additional assistance.
“We like to help them and we’re working with Center of Life to see ... if there’s something we can help you with,” she said.
The food pantry is located at 301 N.E. 1st St.