An Emergency Food Pantry is an important part of the operations for any community service agency. The challenge occurs when food pantries become the primary long-term source of assistance for a family. Despite the good intentions of neighbors, churches and agencies – pantry use without solutions or alternatives actually contributes to generational poverty.
United Against Poverty partners with dozens of other community organizations to meet immediate food needs for those who are struggling to put food on the table. Through these collaborative efforts, other health challenges are also addressed and families are connected 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.
Churches, other non-profits, government agencies, companies and even individuals refer adults to our Life Enrichment Program. Many times the primary referral need is food insecurity and hunger. Notably, hunger in the United States is a product of poverty and the long-term goal of the UP Center is to address this primary issue and help individuals and families to lift themselves out of poverty.
First time visitors to the Life Enrichment Program are often sent home with a small supply of emergency food as an introduction to the services we offer. Staff and volunteers will use this encounter to determine if a long-term relationship with the UP Center staff and volunteers would be beneficial to them.
After an initial visit, most families are enrolled in one of the UP programs where they can earn food, transportation assistance or even tuition assistance based on their participation level. These programs are core to our philosophy of two-way giving. Offering an exchange, we empower people to do for themselves, rather than simply being a recipient. One way giving programs become detrimental and lead to dependency, rather than empowerment. Bob Lupton, author of Charity Detox states “the only effective charity is the kind that asks more from those being served, rather than less. Asking for more sends an affirming message to the recipient that he or she also has something of value to offer.”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. By focusing on these items, we are able to provide nutritionally dense foods to those in need.