BRISTOL — Need is up at the Bristol Community Food Pantry, but so are their blessings.
“We’re serving over 100 a month, up from 67 two years ago,” said Brenda Spence, director of the pantry.
Thursday morning, the employees of Fabric Services showed up with eight carts full of blessings for the agency, which serves residents of the Bristol area.
“We have just over 600 items, about 50 employees,” said Steve Kercher, one of the dozens of employees who donned Santa hats to push the carts from their facility on the east side of town to the downtown food pantry. “We talked about trying to do something,” and when they decided to donate goods for the pantry, “everybody ponied up.”
They put together enough food to provide about 10 sets of supplies for people, and when they showed up, Spence was excited. “Oh, my goodness,” she said, stepping out of the tiny pantry to greet the Fabric Services crew and their carts, donated by Harding’s. “Put them over here, we don’t have room,” she said, and she noticed the goods were already sorted. That news brought an even bigger “Thank you!”
John Wouri of Fabric Services told his group that even though they were having fun, “the fact that there’s people out there hurting and need food, the most basic of needs, that’s no joke.” He pointed to Spence and said, “That’s the real hero. They do this 52 weeks a year.”
Spence was grateful for the group, and grateful for all the donations they receive. “We are blessed,” she said.
In addition to individual contributors and Fabric Services, “we got blessed by Ben’s Pretzels. They brought us a bunch of toilet paper for next year,” Spence said, helping to sort goods into donation packages for families.
Ray Mosier, a long-time pantry volunteer, said, “what we really need is more space. You’ve got to like each other” to work in the cramped quarters.
The pantry is a cooperative effort between the Bristol churches, the Lions Club and the American Legion. “We’re the people in Bristol helping the people in Bristol,” said Spence.
“We’re able to help once a month with this big basket of food and a voucher for eggs and milk at Harding’s,” in part through a grant from IU Health Goshen.
They can always use more help assisting needy families. “We can always use cash because we can get at least $1 worth of food for 50 cents.” She also suggested when people see food on sale at deeply discounted prices, “we encourage them to buy some for themself and buy some for the pantry.”
Donations can be made by mail to BCFP, P.O. Box 757, Bristol, IN 46507. Food donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Bristol United Methodist Church or contact Spence directly at 333-8959.