LOAVES AND FISHES: A COMMUNITY TREASURE
by Dianne McGuire
What began as a small pantry in 1983 at St. Raphael’s Church serving 8 families, has grown over the last 35 years into a polished grocery store serving the needs of over 18,798 individuals who are experiencing food insecurity. Over 3 million pounds of food were distributed in 2017, 60% of which was rescued from local grocery stores, 20% purchased and 20% came from community food drives.
On a recent visit early on a Friday morning, we saw a few of their 1,482 volunteers sorting and packaging assorted vegetables, stocking shelves with canned goods, showcasing fresh and frozen meats behind glass freezer doors and arranging fresh bread products on attractive open shelving.
On average, clients save approximately $365 per visit, money which can then be used to pay other bills, keeping family finances afloat!
Jane MacDonald, Director of Community Health, was very appreciative of the Obama Legacy Initiative’s Garden Project…hoping that even more groups will adopt the concept of Grow a Row, in which gardeners dedicate at least one row of their garden’s produce to local food pantries. Although Loaves and Fishes does not currently have garden space available for clients, they were impressed with our Michelle Obama Legacy Garden Initiative where all the garden produce will be donated! loaves-fishes.org