On April 23, the Monroe City Methodist Church and the North-East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) opened the Feed Your Neighbor outdoor food pantry box. The pantry box is located behind the United Methodist Church at 218 Catherine Street in Monroe City.
This is the latest effort by NECAC to place 24-hour food pantries in its 12 counties. Residents can take or drop off food anytime. The program was developed in response to NECAC-conducted surveys about community needs. So far, pantries have been set up in Lewis and Warren counties, with three more to open in a few weeks. Six more boxes are currently being built.
Locations will vary depending upon agreements with property owners on suitable locations, with most being located at NECAC County Service Centers. The food is supplied by donors. Anyone can take or drop off food at any time. The goal is to provide a needed service while avoiding some of the stigma that goes with having to ask for assistance.
The program is intended as a supplement to other food pantry efforts in the communities. Brent Engle, NECAC Public Relations Officer stated, “NECAC works closely with other social service organizations, and we are not out to compete.”
The success of this 24-hour pantry will rely on the balance between contributions and use. Engle said, “We hope that people will take a little and give a little as they can. It can be as simple as picking up an extra can or two of vegetables when you go the grocery store. After a month of doing so, you’ll have a bag you can contribute.” The pantry will be held on the honor system, being a way to help out neighbors in need.