1,000 cans by Thanksgiving

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A Bold Aim

 

We are trying to collect 1,000 cans of vegetables or beans by Thanksgiving. The good news is that we are nearly at 400 on the Canometer.

 

Help us make our target. We have two weeks!

 

Food Drop is at 502 W. Sumter Street, Shelby, 28150. Follow the sign to "Parking" and you will see the Parish Hall. Drop off days are Tuesday morning and Wednesday. Please knock loudly on the door or you can just drop your cans outside.

 

About our food ministry

 

Shepherd's Table has been around for a little over 10 years. Each Wednesday we give out a hot lunch at 11:30 and boxes of food from 4:00pm. We serve several hundred people each week.

 

Our food comes from Second Harvest and other community sources including the Foothills Farmers Market. We try to put produce in every box but with unprecedented demand we are struggling and have to use canned goods. We are running low. 1,000 cans will give us about a month's supply, perhaps a little more.

 

We often receive questions about the minsitry and people are somtimes concerned whether it is really helping. We have put together some FAQs

 

What difference does your program make, you are not improving people's lives long term.

You are absolutely right. We have to improve our program to include things which will lift people out of the poverty trap long term. This might include literacy or job training. It would include health provision and, especially, mental health provision. It will include giving people hope and confidence that they are strong enough to let go of low opinions of themselves and anger at a system which seems stacked against them.

 

That sounds like liberal junk, people are responsible for themselves.

That is the long term aim, yes. However, there are people who are brought up with the belief that they are, and will always be trash. That sounds harsh but if you are told for your whole life that no one cares, that you have no future and no hope, it can be hard to dig out from all those negative feelings without help.

 

People just take your food and resell it.

Unfortunately, yes. We are at a point where we will have to start marking our food and issuing permanent bans to anyone who does this. There will always be some people who are abusing the system but we know most people are not. If you know of our food being resold please let us know, we want to stop it.

 

People should work not rely on handouts.

A lor of our guests do work. The working poor (as they are often known) get caught between the upper income limit for government help and low wages which do not afford them enough to live on. For these people every little counts. Some would be better off on government benefits if they were unemployed but they choose to work. We try not to judge how people end up unemployed or on disability. Just like reselling food, there are always people who take advantage - but most don't.

 

What are the needs in Shelby?

There are many needs - food is certainly one of them .There are many children who only get the food that they are given at school and go from Friday night until Monday morning without eating at all, or without eating very much.

 

Mental Health issues are huge and there are simply not enough providers in Shelby, or in most of the country. Medicine co-pays are expensive for many psychiatric drugs and keeping people taking them can be hard.

 

There is a cycle that people get stuck in. They might be working and then someone gets sick and there are bille. There are rent and utilities to pay. They just keep their head above water and something happens to the vehicle which they are using to go to work. Perhaps they have to give up their job or perhaps they go to a payday lender.

 

It all unravels from there. All the bills cannot be paid, they have to choose between heat, transportation, food and healthcare. They get sicker. They have trouble with rent and struggle to keep accomodation. Stress causes domestic tension and, sometimes, violence. Coping strategies may include alcohol or drugs. You can see how it goes. Breaking the cycle is multi-faceted.

What are you doing about all this and how can I help?

Our Food Pantry helps a little but there is a lot more to do. We are only one church, a small congregation, despite the size of our building. It can be overwhelming. We need to work together with other agencies in the area but we also desperately need people with skills in literacy, job training, job skills training and health to invite our guests to begin a journey to freedom from this cycle of poverty.

 

It is a big ask. Right now, with holidays approaching and the weather getting colder we are continuing to feed people. The dream would be not to have to because working with our community we had given people tools and hope to fulfil their potential.

 

If you are interested in being a part of this larger picture, please let us know. We are trusting that the right people are out there and that we can, with you, make a lasting difference.