Today was a cool and beautiful August day, which made me even happier to join Catholic Charities of West Tennessee at their weekly Mobile Food Pantry. As I traveled to Frayser, I realized I had never experienced a food pantry before, other than the donation of food throughout my life. Like many of you, I’ve walked the aisles of stores gathering cans and other items, packed them in bags, and sent them on their way. This would be my first time on the other side, helping families receive the much needed assistance. This already felt very fulfilling to me.
I arrived at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, and quickly noticed the red shirted volunteers. They greeted me warmly. I was able to spend time with many of them, chatting about the layout of the day. They were all very friendly and easy-going, and we connected and learned about one another throughout the morning! Every Thursday, these volunteers gather at different mobile locations in Memphis to pass out a week’s worth of food to families in need. The food is donated mostly through a partnership with the Mid-South Food Bank. Provisions are then sorted, packed, and organized a few days prior to arriving at the mobile location. The food pantry can serve up to 20 families each week, and 16 filled the list today. Families who are in the most need in the area are identified and eligible to receive assistance.
As people started to arrive, totes and coolers began to pop open. Groceries were compiled for each family, including non-perishable items, meats, fruit, and vegetables. All items were placed in a tote on a dolly for ease of transportation. I was pleased to help cart and load these groceries for many people. I heard almost everyone say thank you, and if not, I saw it from the smiles on their faces. Their stories remain untold, but I knew this week they’d be fed, thanks to the outreach of the Catholic Charities.
I don’t know how often you think about your weekly grocery trips or the meals that you prepare. Hunger may not be a common topic in your home, so I invite you to do a few things. Offer gratitude for the food that nourishes you daily. Don’t take for granted the ability to feed yourself and your families with relative ease. Get involved in outreach devoted to fighting hunger. There are opportunities on both sides, whether you want to interact with those who need assistance or simply donate food items when you can. It’s all worthwhile. Catholic Charities is just one of many organizations in Memphis that accepts donated food and welcomes volunteers. There are innumerable causes in the world today, but helping someone with a basic need, like food, is an important contribution.