Does your ecclesia have brothers and sisters, families, with limited incomes who might need occasional, or even regular, support to feed themselves?
If so, a pantry stocked with an abundant supply of non-perishable foods might be a big help to them as well as demonstrate you compassion and understanding.
Consider pastas, bottled sauces, beans, rice, canned foods of all sorts, anything that has a long shelf life*. Don’t forget paper products as well, such as women’s hygiene supplies, paper towels, and bathroom tissue. Maybe zip-lock bags.
Be sure to set things up so that those that need to get supplies from the pantry can do so without embarrassment and with privacy. Make the supplies readily accessible to all whenever the ecclesia is open.
Clearly, you will need arranging board approval and to perhaps form a small team to take inventory now and then. The team can then do grocery store trips to replenish the pantry, or, better yet, list the needs on post-it notes and tack them to a bulletin board so lots of the members can contribute to the effort.
* Shelf life data on food products us not what some of us think it is and our misunderstandings can lead us to discard it way too soon. In the US, only baby food has government-mandated expiration dates. All other dates are usually called “Best By” dates and are the manufacture’s conservative guess about when the food will still be at peak quality. Most remain nutritious and safe to eat well beyond that date. So you need to make sure the foods donated to your pantry are not discarded too soon, nor too late, by educating whomever will be checking the supplies on hand.
Here are some guidelines from one of the US’s leading food bank organizations, Feeding America, for how long food remains good beyond the Best By date:
While we are pleased to be able to provide grants and initiatives to our Brothers and Sisters, there is a real cost associated with these efforts and so donations would be greatly appreciated. The Garden is comprised entirely of volunteers and 100% of funds received are put towards future initiatives and support programs for our North American Christadelphian community. Donations can be made on our donation page or the WCF website.