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Food Pantry: More food distributed means volunteers needed

By Naomi Prioleau
Aug. 22, 2013 at 10 p.m.

The United Churches of Marshall Food Pantry is asking the community to help them with food deliveries as they are "stretched thin."

Every first and third Friday of the month, the organization receives food from the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler and food pantry officials say with the increased amount of food they're receiving, they need more volunteers.

Crossroads Baptist Church has a team that pulls one trailer of food on the first Friday and Central Baptist Church has a team that drives another trailer on the third Friday. With the food pantry receiving around 20,000 pounds of food a month, food pantry board members are urging residents of Marshall to volunteer.

"In the last year or so our demands for food and orders for food have increased so much that we're no longer able to handle amount of food coming in on one flat bed trailer with the group to unload," Friday delivery coordinator, Paula Nichols said. "We're requesting two other teams to work alongside our volunteers on those Fridays."

Volunteers would be responsible for unloading the food once it reached Immanuel Baptist Church and onto pickup trucks for it to be taken to Mission Marshall located at 2109 S. Washington Ave., where it would be unloaded again. Each food delivery takes about two hours to complete.

Ms. Nichols said a majority of their volunteers now are older retirees and that that can have adverse effect on the amount of work that can get done.

"The people who do this on Fridays, are usually retired folks and they can run out of energy quickly," she said. "Our real concerns are burdening these two church teams and that the guys are just going to get worn out."

Rebecca Searcy, food pantry board member said while they're thankful for the donations they receive, their main focus right now is getting volunteers.

"We're always grateful for donations of money and food but we really need volunteers," she said. "With the volunteers we have now, we are going to survive, but we are stretched thin."

A standard 16 foot flatbed trailer with a sturdy floor to accommodate a 5,000 plus pound load and a pickup able to pull that load is sufficient. Mission Marshall is also looking for volunteers to help run the pantry during the week, Tuesdays through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Mondays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information on how to become a volunteer call director, Misty Scott at (903) 472-4944 or (903) 472-9378.



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