A Church in Fremont, Nebraska sets up outdoor food pantries to help people in need when they need it, a report says.
The Stonebridge Christian Church picked up on the initiative of North Bend native Beth Dorcey Riley who, with the help of a friend and a neighbor, setup a pantry in her front yard during her birthday offering food and personal utilities for anyone to freely take as many as they need, The Sentinel said.
As per The Sentinel, Riley wondered how people are making it through the summer with so many out of work and children being taught remotely because of the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, Riley was already helping out another single mom like her feed her children several times a week, The Sentinel said.
Their little pantry had already served hundreds of people in a month's time, which included distributing "200 toothbrushes and over 100 jars of peanut butter."
"The great thing about the free, little pantries is that people don't have to have any fear of shame or of needing to provide paperwork--or anything that would make them feel uncomfortable about getting any sort of aid," Riley said.
"It is anonymous and it does take away a lot of the stigma that people might feel in accessing help at a time when many people have never been in this situation where they've needed to get help before," she explained.
Riley said the people who get aid from the pantry come from various circumstances such as having "medical bills that they've never had before," those that "might be facing job losses they've never had before," or those who "just might be feeling the crunch of the economy." The pantry, she said, "is just a great way they can get a little bit of extra help."
Adding to this, Riley said the pantry is designed as help for a temporary situation who aren't ready to ask it from major organizations. She cited a single mother struggling to make ends meet at the moment, especially in feeding her family despite currently having two jobs. Another example cited is a veteran on permanent disability who got a work promotion and lost his stamp eligibility making it harder for their family to make it through monthly.
The small, free pantry is for people, who aren't to the point where they're ready to reach out to these organizations. It's designed to help them get through a temporary situation - like a single mom who's working two jobs, but is still struggling to feed her family. She can come whenever she needs and discretely get what she needs
This lead them to be featured in various TV stations in Omaha by September and reached Stonebridge Executive Pastor Mitch Chitwood who called Riley and then setup pantries in their campuses. The Church has one in its Fremont and Benson Campus, where Riley goes to Church, as per The Sentinel's report.
"Our church and the community have started to donate. We have space here at the church for the donations as they come in" said StoneBridge Fremont Campus and Worship Pastor Tim Karges explained. "As it empties, we have people who refill it."
Karges pointed out that people can "just come and take whatever they need, whenever they need it and we'll just keep replenishing it". He told The Sentinel that "just come and take whatever they need, whenever they need it and we'll just keep replenishing it".
Karges said the little food pantry aids the undertaking of organizations like Care Corps' LifeHouse, the Fremont Area United Way, or the Salvation Army, who they themselves have helped with also. The pantry only seeks to provide temporary relief by providing means to get across.