As most people are aware, food pantries everywhere have had a tremendous responsibility bestowed upon them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Food of Life Pantry located on the St. Thomas Episcopal Church campus in Amenia, NY, had been operating for 11 years before the pandemic hit, so they had a lot of experience with serving food insecure families. Additionally, The Rev. AJ Stack and a small but highly active (and talented) group of church elders saw to it that the pantry was able to serve every family, as the need more than doubled in a short time.
Toward the end of February 2020, it became clear the pantry was quickly outgrowing its multi-use space in the parish house. Over the next few months, it was decided that a new dedicated pantry building needed to be built. The flurry of activity that followed was intense. Fundraising, finding an architect, drawing up plans, finding a contractor willing to expedite the build, securing permits, all the while learning to navigate COVID-19 protocols. It was quite the challenge.
The new building opened its doors to serve the community just 8 months later (November 2020). The volunteers are able to serve those in need in a beautiful, efficient, dedicated pantry space! They are able to do the necessary work and socially distance. They are currently using a drive-through model of serving, but hope to welcome people back inside for a more hands-on approach.
The Rev. AJ Stack said, “We are proud of our accomplishment but would be remiss if we did not note the heartwarming support from our community, individuals near and far, foundations, local farmers, and businesses. This pantry truly belongs to the community!”