What is hunger? A better question is…..Who is hunger? Those who run the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Table of Plenty Food Pantry at St. Agnes Church in Elyria can tell you. Hunger is Mary, a young Filipino woman, who is unable to work because of her severe health issues. Hunger is Brian who struggles to feed his family because of his low paying job.
Hunger is James who lost his job and his house and is living in one room with his wife and four children. Hunger is the family of four children who come with grandma who cares for their every need with a small government stipend. Hunger is Doria, our blind neighbor who, in spite of her disability, cares for her three grandchildren on her minimal income.
MaryAnn Schaefer, pantry director, and the three other organizers of the Table of Plenty Food Pantry came together several years ago to reach out to nurture people’s spirits and food needs in the west side neighborhood of Elyria. On the average, the pantry serves around 120 families or roughly 400 individuals each month. “Our clients need food, most definitely,” said MaryAnn, “But they also need someone to reach out to them and offer kind words, hope and encouragement.”
The Table of Plenty Food Pantry operates on the fourth Saturday of every month and has an enthusiastic and large group of volunteers who help clients select their food, carry bags out and sit and visit with them. They have partnered with Second Harvest for just over two years now to stock their shelves. “Through the donations of food which Second Harvest receives, we can access needed food and we are able to assuage some of our clients’ hunger. We are so grateful for the partnership,” MaryAnn stated.
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