Food pantry built on faith

Published 1:33 pm Saturday, June 8, 2019

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, was the first day of distribution at Harvest of Hope Food Pantry. Today, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, began the seventh year of distribution of food to our clients in the Americus/Sumter County area. The first month that we distributed food in 2013, we did not know what to expect. In May, we had pre-registered the people to come to receive food in June. The number of pre-registered families was about 170. Since we were going to distribute food on the four Tuesdays each month, we divided the alphabet into four equal groups so that we would not have everyone show up on the first Tuesday. Dividing the alphabet in that way only worked for a short while. The first Tuesday in June, the 4th, we served 71 families. The last Tuesday in May 2019, May 28th, we served 189 families.

One lady, last Tuesday, said, “I do not know if anyone has told you ‘Thank You.’ There are a lot of hungry people in Sumter County.” We hear that echoed week after week. Recently there was a man that was standing out in front of the building asking questions. One of the volunteers came and said, “He is acting suspiciously.”  I went out to talk with him. He told me that he was not from Americus and was waiting for his brother who was going through the process to receive food. I answered all of his questions and his response was, “This (the food pantry) is a wonderful place for the people in Americus.”

Thanks to each of you who have made and continue to make it possible for Harvest of Hope Food Pantry to exist for the people of Sumter County. We are only here because of you.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit down on the floor with children and talk about hunger and explain about the food pantry. I start by asking what food(s) they like to eat. What is their favorite food? The answer most given is hotdogs. One young girl said “grits.” Then I asked them to name a food they do not like. Their replies were the usual things like cabbage, turnips, and most anything green. The young girl who said her favorite food was grits, said the food she did not like was grits. After talking with the youngsters for a while, I asked them, “Have you ever been hungry?” And their answers: “I get hungry all the time.” My next question was: “What do you do when you are hungry?” I usually try to hurry it along (have you ever tried to keep 30 or more four- to six-year-old children in one place?). So, I say: “You run to your mama and say, ‘I am hungry’.” And she goes to the refrigerator and prepares something for you to eat. Then I say: “Suppose she went to the refrigerator and there was nothing to eat?” My next question to them is: “Do you know that there are boys and girls in Sumter County, when they ask for something to eat, their mother says that they do not have anything for them to eat?”

I know it seems like a crazy question to ask each of you, “Have any of you ever been really hungry? Of course, the answer is “no.” You have probably said “I am so hungry, I think I’ll starve to death.” But you know that if you do not have anything that you want to eat in your refrigerator or pantry, you have the ability to go some place to purchase what you want. However, there are hundreds (the poverty rate in Sumter County is 33 percent) who have no idea where their next meal will come from.

Thanks to every person, organization, and church that supports Harvest of Hope Food Pantry to enable us to put some food in people’s refrigerators. For an example of what one young boy has done to help Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, see the photo on page 4 of the June 5th edition of the Americus Times-Recorder.

God bless.

Sonny Pinckard

Executive director

Harvest of Hope Food Pantry