Union Hall food pantry assists needy

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 8, 2008

Gwen Dyess has been chairman of the food pantry committee atUnion Hall Baptist Church for two years now. And the tenderhearted,former preschool teacher sends her heart out to those who arestruggling for the bare-cabinet essentials.

And she can’t help but to tear up from time to time when thosein need come to the church’s pantry for a helping hand.

“It’s a blessing to me to help those who are not as fortunate asthe rest of us,” Dyess said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Dyess recalled one child’s excitement over a shelf commodity.

One day Dyess gave a bag to a needy family and the little boybecame so excited over a box of cereal, she said.

It was a box of Fruit Loops, she said. He was around 4 years oldand asked his mother if he could have a bowl when he got home.

“I almost cried,” Dyess said. ” (But ) I’m tenderheartedanyway.”

The food pantry at Union Hall Baptist Church, located on Nola Road,serves from 60 to 75 families a year fluctuating from season toseason.

The food pantry at the church is open to the community and churchmembers for donations and volunteering as well as for help. Around10 members make up the Union Hall Food Pantry Committee.

Dyess said she keeps up the pantry on an as-needed basis – stockingshelves, supplying inventory from monetary donations andspecializing packages for a variety of families.

“As things come in I put it where it belongs,” she said.

The Union Hall pantry consists of a variety of non-perishablesranging from spaghetti sauce, grits and baby food to rice cereal,green beans, peanut butter and jelly. And from time to time paperproducts make it to the shelf, as well.

She said the number of needy families begins to pick up in the falland slack off during the summer.

The families or needy members of the community are usually on afixed income and the money just doesn’t always go far enough, Dyesssaid. She also said some are disabled.

“It’s even hard for them to ask for food,” she said of the needyfamilies.

On the bright side, Dyess is proud of what her church has been ableto muster up for those in need.

“For our little church, we have a nice variety in here,” shesaid.

Union Hall’s is one of three local food pantries that will benefitfrom The DAILY LEADER and Bank of Brookhaven’s annual fundraisingdrive. Call Union Hall Baptist Church for more information abouttheir food pantry at (601) 833-5784.