November 1, 2012

Food Pantry Continuing to Streamline Distribution Methods

With the completion of final touches inside the new food pantry building, the Scotland County Food Pantry would like to announce to the community the return to the shopping system previously used for monthly food distribution.

During the construction phase the Food Pantry distributed food parcels of only one size, meaning that a single person received the same amount of food as a large family. This was necessary to accommodate food distribution in the midst of ongoing construction. Although those served by the ministry were able to move through the distribution process more quickly, some people received far more than they needed of some items while others would have benefitted from more.

The new shopping system will go into effect during the November food distribution. Starting Friday, November 9th, those who are already enrolled in the food distribution program should have a color-coded index card with their appointed shopping time. Previously, color-coded index cards were given out to those who regularly receive food during monthly distribution. The colors and times are orange (8 - 10 a.m.), pink (10 a.m. - noon), yellow (noon - 2 p.m.) and green (2 - 4p.m.).

"To avoid traffic backing up onto the highway and to lessen your frustration, please come no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your appointed time," said volunteer Dan Hite. "We will only be serving those who have the appropriate colored cards for that time of day. Your cooperation in this is needed and greatly appreciated in this matter."

Patrons who have not received an appointed time and colored card may come at anytime throughout the 8 AM to 4 PM distribution to sign up and receive their shopping time.

A major concern of Food Pantry patrons in the past has been that some items will no longer be available if they wait until later in the day to pick their commodities. This has led some patrons to come well before distribution begins.

"We will be making significant changes in how we distribute food beginning this November," Hite said. "These changes should take care of those concerns."

He noted that the food pantry will be moving away from the one-size parcel for everyone model and will begin distributing different-sized parcels to different-sized families. The amounts of different food items needed for all family sizes will be calculated beforehand and items will be held back for their appointed time slots.

The food patron organizers also stressed the need for patrons to come into the Food Pantry and shop for their food items.

"Too many food items are finding their way into dumpsters or are being donated back to the Food Pantry through the churches resulting in unnecessary re-shelving of food items," Hite stated.

Coming inside the pantry and shopping for food items is not mandatory.

"We understand that for some of our patrons this would be a hardship," Hite said. "However, we greatly encourage those who can to come into the pantry and take only those things they will use. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. Please help us in making this a smooth and successful transition to a system we hope will serve our community more effectively."

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