Your opinion: July 29, 2017

Published 11:12 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Do you think it’s hot where you are?
Everywhere I go, people talk about how hot it is if you are not in air-conditioning. I tell them if they want to experience hot, come to Harvest of Hope Food Pantry at about 3:00 in the afternoon. With no movement of air and a metal building, it is almost impossible to stay in the warehouse part of the building any length of time. That is the reason that we do all of the work in the mornings. The temperature in the morning, though warm, it is bearable. However, in the winter it is in the morning that it is so very cold. In the afternoon it has warmed up to bearable.  We are able to do the work that we do because of our dedicated volunteers who do not complain but go about the business of preparing to serve or serving our clients regardless of the temperature. Oh, we have fans for the summer but they simply move heat from one place to another. There is a little heat in the packing area of the warehouse but none in the larger part. (Please note: there is heat and air in the area where the clients come on Tuesday mornings.)
We are blessed that during farming season we are able to provide fresh vegetables to our clients. From what I have been able to discover, we are one of the few food pantries that are able to give fresh vegetables to the clients. We are blessed during the summer months to have so many high-school young ladies and gentlemen to help prepare the fresh vegetables for distribution. They brave the heat and drink plenty of water.
When the USDA representative visited us several months ago, he told us that we were not to give food out to people who did not live in Sumter County. That was what we were doing because it is the people of Sumter County who provide the resources that enable us to operate. In the past, if someone from another county came to the food pantry, we gave them food that single time and told them to find a food pantry in their county. The USDA representative told us that we could not even do that. One lady, from another county that also had a food pantry, came to Harvest of Hope. We suggested that she go to the one in her county. Her response was: “I have been to that food pantry but you give better food.”
Although we try, it is not always easy to provide “better food.” I suppose “better food” is a matter of opinion, but I am amazed at how many people tell me that they use everything that we give them. Part of our ability to give “better food” comes from the fact that we are able to purchase a lot of food from the grocery store which enables us to provide a greater variety of food.
We are able to do what we do because of what YOU do for us. Thanks to each of you who have a heart to give, who provide Harvest of Hope Food Pantry with the resources whether monetary or canned goods.  We thank God every day that we are able to serve you. However, to continue to serve, we need your continued support.
When I last wrote, I mentioned that I was soon to be 79 years old. I am now there. I never dreamed that at age 79 I would be working as many hours a week as I do. In fact, I never dreamed that at age 79 I would be doing more than riding my recliner. So much for what I thought! I am blessed to be able to serve.
Come to see us when we are at the food pantry or call us and we will give you a tour. I promise you that if you have not been to Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, you will be amazed at what you see. I can tell you that just as I never dreamed I would be working as many hours a week as Ginger and I do, I can also tell you that I never dreamed that Harvest of Hope Food Pantry would become what it is today. Thank you.
Sonny Pinckard
Executive director
Harvest of Hope Food Pantry