Article written by Doug Mouncey, parishioner at St. Paul’s, Syracuse.
St. Paul’s, Syracuse has received a grant of $1500 for The Open Pantry from the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York!
When the Open Pantry began last summer, the expectation was that it would serve as a way to continue relationships with individuals who were coming to The Caring Place until we were able to renew those activities.
Since then, we have learned that the Open Pantry should continue as a permanent mission activity of St. Paul’s. There is a definite need for food and the Open Pantry is “user friendly”. There are no eligibility requirements, nor lots of forms to complete. It is in a location that gets a lot of foot and public transit traffic, there are no set hours, and the variety of food ranges from items that require some cooking as well as some that require no preparation. Based on my experience of the emergency food service system throughout Onondaga County, this user-friendly aspect is unique and plays an important role as individuals are frequently able to get immediate support.
We have also learned that the Open Pantry is supported by non-members as well as our members (the capacity to develop community/neighborhood partnerships was an important aspect of this particular grant).
There are also challenges with hosting these activities for the long-term, specifically good stewardship of our volunteers and financial resources.
Receiving the $1,500 grant from the Diocese specifically allows us to supplement the food that is donated. In addition, this will give us a few months to look at ways to broaden our network of support (for example, we already have an informal agreement whereby a limited quantity of food donated to the Samaritan Center is available to the Open Pantry).
For more information about the Ministry Grant program and other resources available to parishes, please visit cnyepiscopal.org/funding.