Our parish Outreach Committee has for many years distributed food bags to those in our community who need this assistance. Prepacked bags were given out from the Parish Office. Since April 10, two volunteers at a time from the Outreach Committee have been staffing the Food Pantry on Wednesdays to receive people and to give out food. At this time, the pantry, which is located near the entrance to the kitchen on the lower level of our church campus, is opening Wednesdays only from 10:00 a.m. to noon.
New methods of distribution are being tried that provide a way for “shoppers” to choose the items they actually would like in order to fill their bag. With this format the Committee hopes to build better awareness of this community’s actual needs and create a more welcoming/personal environment.
Hans Lehmann, one of the committee’s chairpersons, has been talking with area ministries to homeless and other individuals/families who need food assistance. “It’s pretty exciting to see what some of these groups are doing,” Hans said. “One group knows people by name and if someone doesn’t come by the pantry for awhile, they can inquire after them through others who do come in.”
Of course, Carmel is a very unusual demographic. Those in need may at times seem invisible, but when we become more present and aware, the faces come into focus. It is these faces that the Outreach Committee is inviting us as a parish to try to serve more effectively.
Throughout the year, the Outreach Committee devotes themselves to raising funds and buying (or receiving donations of) food. Regularly, they also help secure donated clothing, which is then passed along to Epiphany Church, Marina, for their countywide distribution program.
Members of the Outreach Committee are (in alpha order): Nan Borreson, Julie Bryan, Gillian Byrd, Nancy Jones, Hans Lehmann, Stella Rabaut, Gwynn Romano and Sherry Shollenbarger. And new members are always welcome.