When the food pantry run by the Anna First Church closed its doors last year, their leftover food went to start a new food pantry in its place called the Lord’s Warehouse.
The pantry is run out of a garage in Oak Hollow by volunteers, but that’s not what makes it unique — it’s that people can connect to the pantry online.
Instead of people coming to the pantry and picking out their own food, all people have to do is go online to the pantry’s Pay it Forward Anna, Melissa, Van Alstyne Facebook page and say they have a need.
“The food goes to people in need through the Facebook page,” Carol Chapman, a pantry volunteer said. “They can message us and say, ‘We have a need,’ ‘My kids are hungry,’ or, ‘We’re hungry, we’re falling on hard times,’ and even as we speak someone has probably picked up.”
By “picked up,” Chapman means someone has stopped by a pantry volunteer’s house and picked up a bag of food left outside on the porch by the volunteer.
Without volunteers willing to pick up bags of food from the pantry and use their porch, the pantry wouldn’t exist. Local teenagers also help the pantry by bagging up food and sorting it.
People ask for food daily, Chapman said.
“I mean often, very often we’ve had people say we have nothing in the pantry so, anything is better than nothing,” she said.
Currently, the pantry has dozens of varieties of canned vegetables, peanut butter, ramen, and other dried goods. Perishables, though, are not as abundant. Eggs and bread are available but meat is a luxury. The most common meat they have are frozen hot dogs.
Chapman said Brookshire’s donates food to the pantry in gift cards.
“Brookshire’s is a huge part of our Pay It Forward group and we partner with Mr. Nut at Brookshire’s, and he gives us gift cards for milk and bread and eggs,” she said. “Things like that, that are perishable, and then … we put out a food challenge on the Pay It Forward site and I just say, ‘Food challenge: We need macaroni and cheese, soup, and chili.’”
Those food challenges pay off with hundreds of dollars in food rolling in.
“It takes the whole community,” Chapman said. “I mean everybody in the community pulling together to make it happen.”
The pantry is only one part of the Pay It Forward Facebook page. People can also share free items on the page, or services. Chapman said she’s always looking to connect people who want to help with people in need.
The page is approved through the Collin County Municipal Court as a designated organization that juveniles can do service hours with. It’s also approved by the National Honor Society.
Teenagers who need services hours for any reason often volunteer through the page.
Recently, Chapman said a teenager weeded and mowed an elderly couple’s lawn. Right now, the pantry has enough volunteers but needs items to help families get through the summer break. Peanut butter, tuna, soups, gas cards, meat, perishables, and gift cards are needed.
For people looking to donate contact an administrator of the Pay it Forward Anna, Melissa, and Van Alstyne Facebook page.