Church food pantry offers a helping hand
BY KAREN CAFFARINI Post-Tribune correspondent January 25, 2014 11:34PM
Updated: February 27, 2014 6:55AM
GARY — Steve Granacki braved the cold Saturday to walk from the homeless shelter where he lives to Christ Baptist Church.
The two heavy bags filled with food he was taking back made the trip worthwhile.
“God bless them,” Granacki said of the food pantry ministry at the church. “They’ve even given away hams and turkeys in the past.”
On Saturday, the church was adding a roaster chicken to the bags.
Since March, the church on East 7th Avenue has given away food staples such as a 10-pound bag of potatoes, onions, canned vegetables and some type of meat from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every fourth Saturday of the month, Alvin Jacobs, coordinator of the food pantry, said.
“We try to give people the basics for a decent meal to supplement what they have,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the church, whose pastor is Lawrence Robertson, usually serves about 75 families each month. By 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the pantry had served 30 families.
Jacobs said people normally stand in line outside, but because of the cold weather he let them wait their turn inside.
Jacobs said the food donation is for people in both Lake and Porter counties and there is no income requirement. Individuals sign up for their packages, then bring the sign-up sheet to a room where the food is distributed.
“We just ask that they show an ID. If they don’t have an ID, we help them anyway,” Jacobs said.
He said the church buys the food from its own budget plus there are some parishioner contributions. Pantry volunteer Foster Stephens said the food comes from the Aldi supermarket in Gary.
“Aldi’s has been a very good partner. They always have the food ready for us to pick up the night before,” Stephens said.
Granacki said he comes just about every fourth Saturday of the month. He shares some of his food with others at the shelter.
“One of my buddies has a little Crock-pot. We add water and have a nice soup,” Granacki said.