A Glimpse of the Heart of a Food Pantry…..
Sue Swartz, the pantry director at Christ United Methodist Church at 3801 7th St., East Moline, IL, has a huge heart for helping others. The food pantry is open Monday through Friday from 9a.m. to 12p.m. and serves approximately 300 individuals every month in the East Moline/Silvis area. The pantry prepackages the food with the help of their 2 volunteers each day (1 desk attendant and 1sack room attendant). The amount of food they give out is an emergency one week supply and the clients can come every 30 days. The food pantry has been in operation for 40 years.
Without the River Bend Foodbank, Sue said the pantry couldn’t run. “I just couldn’t imagine not having the River Bend Foodbank. They are a great group. They see a lot of me and they are always willing to help,” she stated. The Christ United Methodist food pantry receives food from the River Bend Foodbank every week, where they receive 95% of their supply.
The one thing that Sue would love to be able to do all of the time at the food pantry is to be a greeter. She loves interacting with the clients that come in and makes them feel comfortable and loved. She wants to help them, but she also wants them to be productive members of society. Sue pushes the clients to be their very best and especially loves their hugs! When Sue first took over as pantry director, her priority was that all clients were treated with dignity. Sue has changed the volunteer’s views and now they have a true heart for the people.
The church congregation is very supportive of the food pantry. The women of the church knit/crochet scarves and blankets for the clients when the weather turns cold. A couple celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary is asking for canned goods instead of gifts to be donated to the food pantry.
Sue says that the biggest challenge the food pantry faces is “having ample amount of food.” She would love to be able to give more and never run out of cereal! The Christ United Methodist Church food pantry is filled with loving individuals that make you feel at home the moment you step in the door, which makes for a wonderful experience.
By Jennifer Schroder
River Bend Foodbank AmeriCorps VISTA