Starting a food pantry is a wonderful way to care for your parishioners facing difficult times, and it can also give you a way to give back to others in your community. If your church doesn't have the space to start a food pantry, you can use a self-storage unit to start this program. Here are a few ideas to help get your food pantry started.
Create a Storage System
You'll need a way to shelve and organize the donations to your food pantry. Invest in freestanding shelving units you can use to store your nonperishable items, and add heavy-duty plastic storage bins to each shelf. The bins can provide added protection against dirt and dust for the items you are storing, and they can also provide protection from moisture. Label each bin and each shelf so your volunteers know where to put items being donated. Arrange the shelves on the perimeter of the storage unit. You may also want to add a clipboard near the entrance to take an inventory of items as they are brought into the storage unit.
Arrange a Boxing Area
Your self-storage space can also be used to box up and prepare donations for distribution to those who are in need. Place long tables in the center of the unit, which can be used to sort and box your donations. Keep a supply of empty boxes and packing tape available so your volunteers can prepare the donations. If you will be preparing smaller bundles of donations, reusable tote bags offer an alternative to boxes.
Schedule Donation Drop-off Times
You can have people bring donations to the church, or you can arrange to have them bring items directly to the storage unit instead. Regardless of which option you choose, you'll likely want to schedule drop-off times so you can monitor the levels of donations coming in. This will help you to determine how many people you can provide food pantry bundles to. If you have a small congregation, you may want to consider a monthly food drive, and for larger congregations, more frequent donations might be a good option. Talk to your parishioners to see how much interest there is in participating, as this will help you to make plans for your donation distribution.
Talk to the management at your self-storage facility before starting a food pantry to ensure you are allowed to store food in your unit, and look for a climate-controlled storage space to help keep foods fresh while they sit on the shelves.Share
21 February 2017
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