ACS Food Pantries Continue Operations

May 5, 2020
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Update – APRIL 9, 2020

  1. Allegheny East Conference has 30 ACS food pantries all of which are putting in extra time and effort by serving two days a week.
  2. Allegheny West Conference has several churches and centers in Ohio providing services to the community. The Hilltop Community Worship Center serves hot meals and gives away food baskets twice a week on Sabbath and Wednesdays. The Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church is operating a Fresh Produce Market on the third Sabbath of each month. The Southeast SDA Church operates a food pantry and Fresh Produce Market. They also collaborate with the Lee/Miles Hunger Center two days a week. South Fountain SDA Church has been operating a center for 65 years. The Center is now open four days a week and serves hot meals on two days. They also collaborate with the Rocking Horse Ministry that offers medical services.
  3. Illinois Conference has 12 ACS food pantries serving communities within the State. Richland Community Service is serving more than 120 people per week and the numbers are growing amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. North Shore is taking safety measures in serving more than 100 people per week as an official Chicago food distribution site.
  4. Kansas-Nebraska Conference currently has eight food pantries. Two of the most active ones are New Haven and Eureka food pantries. New Haven Food Pantry, situated in Overland Park, is open two days a week and serves close to 250 families (approximately 1,000 people) prior to COVID-19. Eureka Food Pantry has been serving around 60 people every month prior to COVID-19. Though the Eureka Church has a small congregation with only about 20 people attending regularly on Sabbath, the food pantry has six members helping the poor.
  5. Oregon Conference has 65 ACS food pantries. Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) is one of the most active and well-known centers that provide food, low-cost dental care, and low-cost clothing/household items to individuals and families in the area. Another one is the Battle Ground Adventist Community Services (BG-ACS) which provides an important outreach as a food bank/pantry and clothing closet with quilts and household items serving North Clark County. The food bank welcomes families to self-select a 3-5 day supply of food once a month. BG-ACS also is providing basic school supplies to families whose children qualify for free/reduced cost lunches.
  6. Washington Conference has eight food pantries. The Tacoma ACS food pantry is specializing in serving individuals with restricted diets whose circumstances prevent them from accessing enough food for a healthy lifestyle. This includes those with diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. TACS is considered an essential service, and is continuing to serve clients during the pandemic. Staff is taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of their volunteers and neighbors. All volunteers wear gloves, take bagged food outside to clients, and observe social distancing between them and clients.<Neighbor to Neighbor Ministry at the Kent SDA Church has been serving hot meals twice a week for 30 years. Lately, they serve about 50 meals to the homeless community, low income families, and the elderly who are in need of a nutritious meal. To keep people safe and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are temporarily serving sack lunches at the church entrance.
  7. Central California Conference has 18 food pantries. The Bakersfield Church community services center is one of the active ones who has been serving their community with food pantry boxes and taking basic needs to single moms and other people in need. They are also caring for some specific special needs. Another one is Fresno Hispanic Church who was featured on the local news for serving their community with bags of food. They receive help from other local teams and join forces to give out food once a week to the community. People already know to come and pick up their grocery bags.
  8. Hawaii Conference has a couple of their churches on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island delivering bags/boxes of groceries to the elderly and to those who call in asking for help.
  9. Northern California Conference churches are heavily engaging in food programs in their area. Since many churches have volunteers who are elderly and vulnerable, they are trying to recruit younger and healthier individuals for these activities. Several churches like Carmichael and Camino are serving the needy by drive-thru food distribution. Carmichael Church has been asked by the County to open their food bank for more days since the needs are surging. Valley Community Church is using their church van to deliver food to the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.
  10. Gulf States Conference has eight food pantries among which Montgomery Hispanic Church in Alabama and Grace Oasis Church in Mississippi, are very active in their communities. Both are open at least 2-4 times each month creating a large impact in their community.
  11. South Atlantic Conference has 35 food pantries. The Atlanta Berean SDA Community Service Department conducts one of the largest feeding programs in the Metro Atlanta areas. During this COVID-19 pandemic, Allison Dozier and her volunteers serve over 500 families a week. The West End SDA Community Service Center in The West End area is presently open to the public twice a month serving them food by drive-through pick up.
  12. South Central Conference has 37 ACS food pantries which are all participating in immediate relief effort for those in need. The South Park SDA Church’s food pantry has created a method to protect staff in compliance with governmental guidelines. Volunteers wear gloves, face mask, and protective covering at all times. The “Give and Go” process allows volunteers to create boxes of food in the fellowship hall with social distancing of six feet apart and not congregating in groups of more than ten. The most vulnerable volunteers sort and pack boxes which consist of produce, canned goods, juices, bread, pastries, and snacks. Volunteers set up the distribution process and post signs to provide instructions for the recipients. The recipients open their trunk and remain in the vehicle at all times, while volunteers place the boxes in the trunk. For recipients without a vehicle, food boxes are placed on a table outside for pickup.The Maranatha SDA Church also did its part in giving back to the community. On the last weekend of March, the church gave out 500 food bags to people who drove up to them. The Tuscaloosa Feeding 500 is a collaborative effort of Maranatha’s Community Services and Hospitality leaders whose goal is to maximize efforts while minimizing their exposure (connect without contact). All volunteers wore face masks and gloves and were divided into three teams: Pick it up, Pack it up, Pass it out. Rebecca Billingsley, ACS Leader, prepared a menu and shopped for the items with four other volunteers which was the Pick it up phase. The team set up tables, filled the sacks with nonperishable food, and organized them on the tables. Dr. Karen Stacy Moore, Hospitality leader, and six volunteers prepared sandwiches and placed them in the sacks on the table which was the second phase, Pack it up. The last phase was to pass out the sacks (Grab and Go). Pr. Roscoe Shields organized a team for registration and distribution. The registration data was collected at the entrance of the church’s parking lot while the people held their IDs up to their vehicle window. The vehicles proceeded to the mid-point of the parking lot to receive their sacks, then exited the parking lot on the other side.
  13. Southeastern Conference has at least 30 ACS food pantries operating in three language groups: English, Spanish, and French. Like many other food pantries, they have adapted a drive-through ministry limiting contact with those that they serve. Mt. Olive in Apopka, Florida, is one of the well-known food pantries. They serve over 200 families per week and have been recognized in the communities by the mayor and city council because of their work. Mt. Olivet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is another cutting-edge ACS ministry. Besides a food pantry, they have a yearly felony expulsion program whereby they help felons get their records expunged and bring their life back on track again. Lastly, they have a homeless ministry that makes sure they have adequate footwear like socks and shoes for distribution. They have even put together a homeless choir which absolutely is phenomenon.
  14. Texas Conference has over 25 ACS food pantries that are functioning in their communities. Most of them are waiving the monthly fees for the churches that are actively engaging in drive-through for their communities. They see this as a great help to them as it covers more individuals in need in different areas of the communities. Laredo Spanish South Church is doing a weekly drive-through pickup of food packages. They get their food from the local food pantry. The Austin Spanish First SDA Church is also involved in drive-through pickup services in the Austin area. Food items are pre-packaged by volunteers. They have been serving about 360 families every Wednesday.
  15. Texico Conference has six food pantries serving West Texas and New Mexico. The Amarillo English SDA Church’s food program spends an average of $400 per month feeding about 300 people that month. Albuquerque Three Angels SDA Church recently went from 40 food boxes per month to 110 in March.

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