July 7, 2020

St. Vincent de Paul Expands Food Pantry To Meet Larger Need

Volunteer shelves canned goods at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry - Courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry

Volunteer shelves canned goods at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry

Courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry

St. Vincent de Paul Boulevard Place Food Pantry will double the size of its building at 42nd Street. It will also receive renovations.

The pantry saw an estimated 30 percent increase in “out-of-boundary” shoppers during the COVID-19 crisis -- people living outside their typically serviced neighborhoods.

“The renovation will really make us more efficient because we’re able to control how the space is used versus now, where we are limited by the design that we inherited when we purchased the building eight years ago,” said Cindy Brown, St. Vincent de Paul pantry director, operations manager and facilities coordinator.

She said the expansion will help them serve a greater number of people more efficiently.

“An increase of approximately 1,500 square feet to our facility eliminates the client waiting room limitations, increases the shopping area, expands the storage areas, and allows for increased volunteer comforts for the foreseeable future,” Brown said.

Food services will continue during the four month construction period.

Brown said the pantry service fed an average of 930 people a month pre-COVID, and the expansion could allow it to regularly serve as many as 1,200 people a month. She said that service will also include nutrition education.

“We expect to have in-person food demonstrations and cooking classes eventually,” Brown said. “And because we’ll have more food, we expect to eventually serve more client households.”

The remodeling and expansion is funded privately by Marian, Inc., and from personal donations by Roberta and Bill Witchger and parishioners of local Catholic churches.

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