Outreach = Impact | Part I with Nancy Johnson

Our Pledge Campaign this year at Grace is all about our outreach programs. How they impact the people we serve, how they change the lives of those who volunteer. How those volunteers help make Grace Episcopal Church a vibrant community that is alive with God’s love.

This week, we thank Nancy Johnson for giving us a peak behind the curtain of the Grace Food Pantry.

Impact of the Food Pantry by Nancy Johnson

When my husband, Del, and I moved to Traverse City after retiring, we knew that we wanted an Episcopal Church that was involved with a great deal of outreach.

We certainly found just that at Grace! Shortly after joining Grace, I was asked to take over the volunteer leadership of the Food Pantry here at Grace. I accepted the challenge as a step up from retiring from teaching for so long in the dietetics program at MSU. With the cooperation of the pantry volunteers, we increased the donors, amount of food given, the inclusion of pantry assembled meal kits so clients can prepare an entire meal, the emphasis on remembering the children, and establishing relationships with many of the clients and the community.

We have greatly increased the quantity of food, especially meat and fresh produce, given to each person or family. We receive far more food from Food Rescue, regional grants like “Farm to Neighbor”, gifts from other churches and food drives than we ever did before.

The group efforts keep me going, always exploring ways to improve as we decide those changes as a group. It is a joy to come to the pantry to work. Yes, sometimes the work is exhausting, but little things like the smile on the face of one small toddler as he dashes for the fresh apples, grabs one and eats it with the juice running down his chin, Makes the whole day worthwhile!!!

Or being there and listening as clients tell us about their successes and failures. Or when formerly homeless clients come, looking healthy and sounding happy, and they share some time with us as we provide that person with lots of good things to eat. Come join us once a month or more at the Food Pantry. We all have much to celebrate and much to give.

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