Wesley Food Pantry
6 years ago Erin Monaghan introduced the idea of a food pantry other than the Benton County pantry to Barb Rego and Heidi Schminke. They put their heads together and created what is now known as the Mobile Food Pantry. Mobile because they do not have a room available that is open all of the time. Their original location was not ideal for the mission, so they partnered with Wesley United Methodist Church (the Church by the Library) and gained a permanent home. There have been shelves built to stock and store goods in one of the church’s larger rooms, making it easier to inventory and take/use what is available. The members of Wesley have welcomed the program and have a grocery cart permanently in view as a spot for all donations. Some months are designated “item” months for the pantry, for example, February is soup month, so all are encouraged to bring cans of soup to stock the pantry shelves.
On the 3rd Saturday of every month, a close yet growing group of volunteers gather together at Wesley United Methodist Church (the church by the Library) and work to provide food and household goods to over 55 people every month. The volunteer work begins on Thursday when 1 volunteer stops at a HACAP location to pick up food and another volunteer gets it to the church. On Friday evening, many more volunteers come in to set up the tables and arrange the items for the morning visitors. Saturday morning usually sees 20 more volunteers, ready to help each person as they come in. The Mobile Food Pantry is open from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, and with 85 families registered, they never know how many there will be, as not every person can come every month. The Mobile Food Pantry (MFP) follows the HACAP income guidelines, so a family earning less than $2538 per month qualifies. If a family receives SNAP or free/reduced meals, they qualify. However, it is important to note that if anyone is in need, assistance is always there. To date, the volunteers at the MPF have not had to turn anyone away. There have been times when they run out of something that someone was looking/hoping for, but they’ve never been unable to help those that come in.