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Spirit of volunteerism helps pantry meet growing demand

Submitted by mmoreno on Fri, 09/25/2020 - 09:56

By Brianna Stephens
Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) President/CEO Guy Adams and Philanthropy staff volunteered at the CAP’s Grateful Bread Food Pantry recently to help meet increasing need. During the pandemic, CAP staff and volunteers are working hard to continue serving the needs of participants.

“There is nothing more gratifying than watching my colleagues in action serving our participants,” Adams said. “Similarly, it is encouraging to me to share Christ’s love through service with our participants. Serving with my colleagues for a few hours was a wonderful encouragement to me. CAP folks are the finest folks I’ve ever known and served with. It makes my heart sing to put food in the vehicle of a participant and say, ‘God bless you,’ and to both see and hear them express their appreciation. You can see the need and sometimes desperation in the faces of each participant, but you can also see hope and gratitude. It’s an honor to serve CAP’s mission.”

Since the pandemic began its impact locally in the spring, Grateful Bread has seen an increase in the number of people it serves. Plus, people who were already visiting the pantry once a month are now needing emergency food baskets for extra food. “During this time of COVID, the importance of CAP staff and volunteers as they work on the frontlines cannot be overstated,” Adams said. “While our workers are taking every precaution possible in ministering to and serving our participants, they serve because God’s love compels them to build hope and transform lives.”

It has been difficult to have a full staff at the pantry because of COVID-19 restrictions and volunteers are needed to help serve participants, said Sherri Barnett, manager of Grateful Bread. “It is amazing that CAP has a president who is willing to roll up his sleeves and get down to business. He jumped right in and was meeting and greeting our participants, loading up their cars with food, and making an impact on so many lives. His help was greatly appreciated, and it helped boost the staff’s morale,” she said.

CAP has delivered comfort and smiles to its program participants throughout the pandemic, whether it be through a pantry visit, a porch visit, or other means. “Many of our participants are scared and lonely. Like us, they’ve never seen anything like this. Our visits must be done outside, at a distance, and with masks at this time. When our employees and volunteers visit a participant, there are often tears from both individuals. First, tears of joy and upon departing, tears of sadness. Our workers and participants share a genuine love for one another,” Adams said.

CAP’s services have been able to continue during this time because of the generosity of its donors. “Our donors know what CAP’s mission is and that we can be trusted to do what we say we will do. Individuals who support CAP and other charities want to make a difference for others both in the U.S. and around the world.

They give, often because their faith compels them to do so and because they are a reflection of what the word philanthropy is all about. Philanthropy, in Greek, means love of humankind. Our donors give because they have a love of humankind,” Adams said. For more information about CAP and its programs or to donate, visit christianapp.org.