Italy Ministerial Alliance food pantry meets needs of the community

Image: IMA volunteers go to Dallas to pick up food each month.

IMA volunteers go to Dallas to pick up food each month.

Several years ago the Italy Ministerial Alliance (IMA) began to meet the needs of local residents by providing non-perishable food items. The ministry has grown and so has the need for the ministry to continue.

“Food insecurity is a big problem in this part of the country,” said Leah Hidde-Gregory, pastor of the First Methodist Church in Italy. “This food pantry bridges the gap between food stamps and hunger. Our goal is to see that no child goes hungry,” she added.

Over the past few months, the number of families utilizing the food pantry has increased. On November 7th the food pantry volunteers assisted 65 families (184 people) with food. With the holidays coming up, the need is growing.

Not only do the volunteers provide those that come with food, they also pray with them, asking God to meet all their needs. This prayer ministry helps feed those that come spiritually as well as physically.

The food pantry, housed at the First Methodist Church, is open the first Monday of each month from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and the third Wednesday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Because of the generosity of local residents and churches, the food pantry has been able to meet the need so far. The IMA is praying that the community will continue to give. A couple of years ago, the IMA joined the North Texas Food Bank so that they could provide food at a much lower price. The food is provided in bulk.

 “As a member agency of the North Texas Food Bank, we can acquire food for between 14 and 28 cents per pound. This is a shared maintenance fee, not a cost of the food. This is our share in the maintenance of the food bank,” said Hidde-Gregory.

When money is donated for the food pantry, the IMA can buy so much more food than someone could purchase for the same money at a grocery store. Here are some examples:

1 large can or bottle of juice – 56 cents
1 pound of rice – 14 cents
1 pound of beef – 14 cents
1 pound of chicken – 28 cents
1 can of tuna – 9 cents
1 box of creamy mac and cheese – 18 cents
1 pound of dry pinto beans – 28 cents
1 can of peaches – 38 cents
1 can tomato sauce – 8 cents
1 can of black eyed peas – 13 cents
1 box of cereal – 23 cents

Monetary donations may be mailed to Central Baptist Church, P.O. Box 750, Italy, TX 76651 or dropped off at the church office at 113 S. Ward Street. The IMA greatly appreciates the donations they have received so far and pray that everyone will continue to give generously so that those in this area will continue to be fed physically and spiritually.