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Back in 2009 a small group of people started feeding the needy and hungry out the basement of the First United Methodist Church. After a short time at the old Co-Ministry building on Clarksville street, which they quickly outgrew, the Downtown Food Pantry (DFP) moved into its current space at 124 W. Cherry Street.
Twice a week a line wraps around the 8700 sq. ft. building, as people patiently wait to go inside, be quickly processed and then “shop” for their food. The DFP is surprisingly efficient. John Kirkman, Executive Director, says “We can process 150 families an hour. That includes checking in, letting them select their food, checking out and putting the food in their cars. It is really quite amazing.”
But in order to remain efficient they need more and more volunteers. Individuals or groups interested in volunteering at the Food Pantry are encouraged to contact Chuck Burton 903-737-8870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers are needed to help process patrons not only on the two days that the Pantry is open: Tuesdays: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. But volunteers are also needed on days when deliveries arrive and they need to stock the pantry: Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Monetary donations are also needed to keep the Downtown Food Pantry operational. The Pantry serves over 400 families each Tuesday and Thursday. That’s a lot of food. The best way to help the DFP to continue is through a cash donation – no matter how small. Donations can be mailed to: 124 W. Cherry Street, Paris, TX 75460. Donations are completely tax-deductible.
For those who don’t have the time to volunteer or the discretionary income to donate, another great, easy way to help the Downtown Food Pantry is the donations of plastic bags, preferably used, clean Walmart bags. Those who come to the DFP, have a true shopping experience. Complete with shopping carts, check-out and of course bagging their groceries.
A few dedicated, compassionate people made a decision to feed the hungry in Lamar County. Over a few short years, their vision has grown and their mission is making a huge impact. Take the time to volunteer, send in a donation or collect bags for the Downtown Food Pantry.