Representatives from Leadership Greenville Class 41 and the Graham Foundation gathered with staff and volunteers of United Ministries on Thursday morning to mark the renovation of United Ministries’ food pantry and the program’s transition to a client-choice model.
“Our approach to food distribution has been limited by our physical space. We are excited to finally have our space designed to meet our needs and to create a more dignified experience for the people we serve,” says Ethan Friddle, Interim Executive Director of United Ministries.
The new client-choice food pantry model will return dignity to those seeking assistance by giving them the ability to choose food items that fit their families’ needs. In the old system, pre-packaged bags were given to qualifying participants. In the new model, participants will be able to choose from available foods that best fit their families’ nutritional needs, thereby cutting down on food waste and allowing active participation in their food assistance experience.
“This new model will allow both participants and volunteers to be more engaged in the process of food assistance,” says Davida Bryant, Emergency Assistance Program Manager.
With the help of essential volunteers from partner churches and in-kind food donations from congregations, civic groups, schools, and businesses, United Ministries’ food pantry plans to serve more than 2,800 local families next year.
More than just food assistance, United Ministries practices the type of transformative charity that discourages dependency on charity and promotes the dignity of work. By offering programs in adult education, employment readiness, and financial literacy, United Ministries focuses on developing the potential that each family possesses to become self-sufficient.
The food pantry renovation is made possible through the generosity of Leadership Greenville Class of 41, Harper Corporation, the Graham Foundation, and John I. Smith Charities.