-Give Out Fresh Fruit
at Your Pantry-
Two Saturdays a month, Good Shepherd feeds families from Bertie County with boxes full of food. These boxes always feature fresh fruit.
Good Shepherd Pantry
Families throughout North Carolina depend on food pantries and food ministries as a reliable source of food each month, backup for when food assistance programs run out at the end of the month, or in case of an emergency. In Bertie County, the Good Shepherd food pantry is making food available to all county residents- no questions asked. Run out of a re-purposed house, Good Shepherd is open two Saturdays out of the month and currently serves about 500 families each month. Good Shepherd gives out packed boxes of food that’s been purchased from grocery stores before the pick-up date. But one item that always makes an appearance in the boxes is fresh fruit. Good Shepherd makes intentional decisions about what goes into the boxes and includes food items like canned goods, fruit juices, about 3 pounds of meat, bread, or a type of snack. Bags of apples, bunches of bananas, kid friendly clementine’s, a pound of grapes, and other fresh fruits are always a part of these boxes.
Aside from scheduled pick-ups every other Saturday, Good Shepherd is connecting with food bank networks like Food Bank of the Albemarle to get donations of produce to give out during the month. It’s not uncommon for Good Shepherd to receive thousands of pounds of fruit to give away either during the week or on a non-pick up weekend. When the produce gets dropped off at the food pantry, it must be redistributed quickly to ensure its fresh when clients receive it. Good Shepherd uses Facebook and word of mouth to get the word out about the impromptu fruit pick-up.
Incorporating healthy options at food pantries is becoming more of a priority to pantry staff members. Good Shepherd works with grocery stores like Food Lion to buy produce at discounted rates to fill boxes with. They dedicate four days out of the week to pick up the produce from Food Lion. This ensures the fruit is refrigerated and stored properly before its given out. Their partnership with Food Bank of the Albemarle also gives them a large supply of free fruit to give out. Other possibilities Good Shepherd is considering include partnering with local farmers to incorporate locally grown produce and reduce food waste in Bertie County.