Published: Thursday, August 20 2020
Written by Diversity Richmond
A 2020 Diversity Richmond Grant Recipient
MCC Richmond’s Vicky Hester Food Pantry and The Lounge are open every Thursday from noon to 1:30pm. Anyone who struggles with food insecurity is welcome to select nonperishable food items from our “Choice” food pantry, order a custom bagged lunch with options of made-to-order sandwiches, chips, veggies, fruit, bottled water and soft drink, and a dessert. The bread and dessert come from our community partner Panera Bread Company. Food donations are provided from members of the congregation, neighbors of the church and our community partners. People can also select from an assortment of gently used clothes and shoes as well as hygiene items. There are no intake requirements and no person is ever turned away.
Due to COVID-19, the number of people utilizing this ministry has more than tripled. Between our Bread Ministry, the Vicky Hester Food Pantry and The Lounge we are serving an average of 250 people per week. Many of these individuals are homeless, between jobs, underemployed or unemployed, and seniors finding themselves choosing between purchasing food or needed medication.
Because of the generous grant of $5,000 given by Diversity Richmond, we have been able to restock the food pantry whenever necessary, purchase needed shelving and racks for food and clothing for the food pantry. We have also been able to provide staff support to assist people in researching and applying for social service programs: unemployment assistance, Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance resources, COVID-19 stimulus checks, and state identification cards. We are proud that this ministry has found housing for 12 people who would otherwise be living on the streets of Richmond.
Diversity Richmond has helped us serve a population that is often overlooked, forgotten, oppressed and marginalized by society. We have learned that food insecurity, hunger, homelessness and vulnerability crosses all boundaries of race, gender, age and sexual identity robbing people of their basic human dignity.
We find it a joy to not only help those who come to the food pantry but to work towards rebuilding and recovering human respect, value and hope by building meaningful and lasting friendships that empower people to be the very best they can be and to proudly engage in their lives knowing they are loved and cared for. We are grateful to Diversity Richmond for their support and encouragement in growing and helping to sustain this vital ministry within the Greater Richmond community.
MCC appreciates any donations of non-perishable food items, hygiene items and financial donations. For more information, call (804) 353-9477.