CONNIE ASHTON BREAD OF LIFE FOOD PANTRY
A Ministry of of the Emmanuel AME Church
Bread of Life Food Pantry, was established in 2009 under the Missions and Welfare Commission as a community based means of feeding the poor in our community. Our mission is to provide food in the form of groceries to low and no income families and individuals in our service area. We distribute bags of groceries sufficient to provide meals for 1-2 days to the families that come to the Food Pantry each week. We do food distribution twice per week on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Our service area is in the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford communities.
Bread of Life, Food Pantry is entirely volunteer based – there is no paid staff. There is, however, a lot of community support for the program and we are beneficiaries of food banks and local stores.
We try to provide a nutritionally balanced bag of groceries to our clients each week with the menu varying from week to week depending on what food we are able to obtain. In addition to the food we receive from the Bread of Life Food Pantry, we also buy food at commercial food outlets such as Food Lion, Food 4 Less or other discount grocery stores, to make sure we can provide the nutritional balance we want to give.
In the last year (2017-2018), we provided bags of groceries each week to about 250 families which provide meals to around 600 people. The number of people we feed went up about 10% per year during the recession. About two-thirds of our clients are women, and one-quarter are children. Our records show 3% are veterans and another 5% are homeless. We prepare special grocery bags for the homeless we serve knowing they have limited ability to cook. About 30% of our clients are senior citizens. Our clients appear to cut across all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. A significant number of them are families, many of which are single parent households. We do not require evidence of need, but we do require some identification so we know the people we serve come from our serving area and so we can remind them they can only get groceries once per week.