An Emergency Food Pantry is an important part of the operations for any community service agency. It is when food pantries become the primary long term source of assistance for a family that the good intentions of neighbors, churches and agencies actually contribute to generational poverty.
United Against Poverty partners with dozens of other community organizations to not only meet immediate food needs for families struggling to put food on the table, but also address health challenges and connect families with resources that will break the terrible cycle of poverty.
*Donations of food can be dropped off at our locations seven days a week between 8:30am – 5pm.
Our first time visitors to the Life Enrichment Program are always sent home with a small supply of emergency food. We keep good records of all our families and determine in partnership with the first time guest if they would benefit from a long term relationship with the UP Center staff and volunteers. Churches, other non-profits, government agencies, companies and even individuals refer adults to our Life Enrichment Program. Many times the primary referral rationale is food insecurity or hunger. However, hunger in the United States is a product of poverty and our long-term goal is to address this primary issue and help individuals and families to lift themselves out of poverty.
After a first time visit, case managers are empowered to provide additional food resources from our pantry or vouchers to our grocery program. However, after a first visit, most families are enrolled in one of our programs where they can earn food, transportation assistance or even tuition assistance based on their participation level. These programs like Passport to Prosperity or Earn While You Learn are core to our philosophy of two-way giving to avoid toxic charity and encourage empowerment over entitlement.
As a rule, we keep a certain inventory of 18 different categories of food (list below) and encourage families and organizations hosting a food drive to stress these essential items amongst their donors. While there is nothing wrong with a good can of beets, a jar of peanut butter can go a long way to providing nutritionally dense food for someone in need.
Baby Food | Basic Feminine Hygiene Products | Bottled Water | Canned Fruit (pop top lid) | Cereal Bars | Canned Beans | Canned Potatoes| Canned Soup | Diapers | Ensure | Jams or Jellies | Oatmeal | Pasta | Peanut Butter | Rice | Small Boxed Cereal | Saltine Crackers | Tuna | Vienna Sausage