Urban Ministries’ food pantry provides a week’s groceries to as many as 50 families each weekday. Last year, our volunteers distributed 250 tons of food and served more than 8,000 families, including 11,000 hungry children. We have transitioned from a traditional food pantry to a client-choice model, which reduces food waste and affords greater dignity to those served.
While the crisis is hunger, the opportunity is for health through nutrition. It begins by sourcing and providing fresh produce–including our own three volunteer-run gardens. We offer nutrition education targeted at chronic conditions, Cooking Matters classes on healthy meal options and preparation, and we provide healthy recipes and their ingredients. Time spent waiting is an opportunity too. Our Connector program engages clients in the waiting room to discover what other needs they may have and provide results-oriented referrals to community partners. People come in a crisis—93% seek our services three or fewer times. Our goal is to maximize these opportunities by engaging clients to help make life-change possible.