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Pantry volunteers face scant supplies, empty crates

With the rush of providing holiday meals for GRACE clients behind him, Rusty Thigpen, GRACE Food Pantry Manager, is eyeing shelf-after-empty shelf and wondering how he will be able to feed the hungry families who come to him for food.

His January Food Pantry Needs List reads like any of our grocery lists: cooking oil, beef stew, pasta sauce, pancake syrup, oranges, apples, tomatoes, laundry detergent, shaving cream. So, what is different about Rusty’s list?

In 2017, Rusty had 7,542 client visits to the Food Pantry in 2017. An average of 630 families per month rely on Rusty for food, hygiene products and infant care essentials.

His message was direct: “We have received many food donations over the holidays, but with our numbers of clients growing, the food we receive now goes out same day.”

The heroic efforts of the Food Pantry over the holidays supplied meal baskets for nearly one-thousand families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This amazing service was provided in addition to the day-to-day needs for GRACE clients.

The many holiday food drives, and the volume of food donated in November and December is so deeply appreciated. Rusty truly wants everyone who participated in food drives with their company, church, club or school to know how much their work and generosity is appreciated.

“The struggle really sets in after the holidays,” said Rusty. “January and February are just hard months to keep food on our shelves.”

Rusty’s list of out-of-stock food items include large juice drinks (grape, orange, pineapple); ramen noodles; canned meats, including Spam, beef stew, Vienna sausage, salmon, chicken and turkey; tomato paste, pasta sauce (can or glass) and canned tomatoes; refried beans, canned fruit; cooking oil; pancake mix and syrup; oatmeal; dry pasta, children’s cereal; and frozen lunch meat.

“Even the simple things,” said Rusty. “We are out of salt and pepper and ketchup; potatoes, onions. We are very low on mayonnaise.”

Numerous other items are low, including fresh produce, oranges, evaporated milk, condensed milk, coffee (can or bag), tea, canned tuna, white rice, and dry beans.

Even non-food items such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, grocery bags, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, and bar soap and diapers, sizes 3, 4, 5 and 6 are needed.

If you can help, groceries can be delivered at the GRACE Food Pantry, 837 East Walnut Street, Grapevine Monday through Friday, 9AM – 5PM. Special delivery times can be arranged by calling Rusty at 817-305-4676.