Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) has served the needs of the Birmingham community for nearly 30 years through their food pantry program. Non-perishable food items are donated by church members, and food pantry clients can stop by to “shop” the pantry once every three months.
The local food ministry program has recently grown to fill even more community needs through a food voucher partnership with Woodlawn’s City Meats and Vegetables, a corner store in REV’s Urban Food Project network.
Once a month, IPC purchases vouchers from City Meats for $29.99 and provides the vouchers to those who have contacted them with food-based needs. Recipients can then take the voucher to City Meats and redeem it for a Healthy Family Pack.
Already, in 2018, IPC has dispensed approximately 150 vouchers for the City Meats grocery bundles, which include:
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 lb. tilapia
- 1 lb. dry beans or peas (pinto, navy, Lima, black beans or black-eyed peas)
- 1 lb. rice (white or brown)
- (3) 2 lb. bags of frozen vegetables (broccoli, field peas with snap beans, squash)
- 1 half-gallon 2% milk
- 1 loaf wheat bread
- 1 dozen eggs
IPC was introduced to City Meats and Vegetables by a member of their food pantry committee, and former client, who is a regular customer of City Meats. The former client also offers valuable insight to the committee on the needs that food-insecure individuals might face.
IPC takes calls every Monday from people in need of assistance. They have the ability to help 25 to 30 families a week, but sometimes receive upwards of 70 calls a week. Most traffic comes from word of mouth by other clients.
Primarily, clients are elderly and living on fixed incomes. Some are disabled, some have grandchildren they are caring for, and most suffer from conditions that make it difficult to go to the grocery store. The Healthy Family Pack is designed to encourage healthy eating habits, and clients have been impressed across the board with the nutritious and versatile items they receive in the packs.
“We are thrilled to have this partnership with City Meats! They are easy to work with, generous and helpful,” said The Reverend Susan Clayton, Associate Minister for Community Ministries. “We are happy to have plentiful, good, healthy options to provide our clients with and we are excited to have this resource in our community.”
Corner stores, like City Meats, in REV’s Urban Food Project network receive weekly deliveries of quality produce and other locally-produced goods as well as assistance in the purchasing, marketing, and selling of fresh produce.