Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Grateful Bread Food Pantry has collected and set aside foods like green beans, corn, stuffing, potatoes, and other pantry ingredients to make casseroles to distribute to its participants for Thanksgiving. Sherri Barnett, manager of the pantry, said participants have been very thankful to receive the food for the upcoming holiday.
By Brianna Stephens
In the spirit of Thanksgiving Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Grateful Bread Food Pantry is providing families in Appalachia traditional sides for their holiday meal. This year the distribution of Thanksgiving sides from the pantry has meant a lot to CAP’s participants who have faced challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic.
“The participants have been especially thankful for the Thanksgiving sides this year,” said Sherri Barnett, manager of Grateful Bread Food Pantry in Rockcastle County. “They are always grateful for our help, but they are showing much more excitement and appreciation for the food now with the holidays coming.” Participants are receiving Thanksgiving staples like stuffing, potatoes, green beans, corn, and other pantry ingredients that can make casseroles.
The food insecurity rate in Rockcastle County is 16.4 percent, which translates into nearly 3,000 people who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. This year the pantry has seen an increase in the number of families who have signed up for its services because of the pandemic. Grateful Bread serves between 40 and 125 families each day, and during the month it serves 800 families for pantry and 190 families for commodity boxes. The pantry has worked with its partners to help provide families extra food during the pandemic to ensure children and seniors are fed. By the end of the year Barnett said she expects the pantry will give away more than the 463,000 pounds of food it distributed last year.
“The number of participants we see coming to the pantry continues to go up, and we expect that to continue into the winter,” Barnett said. “The pandemic has been a major cause of that. Everybody is struggling, and with the schools closed families are struggling even more to feed their children.”
While the pantry continues to distribute food through a drive-up service in its parking lot, Barnett said the staff is doing its best to still build personal relationships with each participant and give them comfort. “I hear a lot of the participants are afraid things will shut down again,” Barnett said. “When they are here, we focus on having positive conversations with them, finding out ways we can help them and celebrating their victories. We recently learned one of our participants is free of cancer. That is great news to celebrate during this difficult time.”