Food pantry serving thousands of meals in need of volunteers

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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CHESTER, Va. (WWBT) - As a food pantry in Chester works to meet the community’s needs, they are in need of volunteers, food and monetary donations. The Redemption Outreach Food Pantry is striving to do even more to help those in need.

The Food Pantry on 101 West Hundred Road, has served 23,000 meals in 2021, partnering with FeedMore and other community organizations.

The doors are open every Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Pantry has become an essential resource to citizens of Chesterfield, Amelia, Lynchburg, Hopewell, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Prince Gorge counties. Along with food, it provides personal hygiene items, pampers, depends, toilet paper, gently used clothing and baby items.

“We have people from different backgrounds, faiths, we come together for one purpose, to minister and heal a food issue,” explained Pastor Didi Gray. “When you can minister to a food issue, you can touch a heart. A heart needs compassion and love.”

Redemption Outreach Food Pantry
Redemption Outreach Food Pantry(Redemption Outreach Food Pantry)

Pastors Didi and Jimmie Gray have spent most of their lives serving others, running the food pantry for more than a decade.

“We are here to help you in a time of crisis, and we are not here to look down on you,” said Pastor Jimmie Gray. “We realize what goes around comes around. Things happen to people. We, as a people, have to give back to each other.”

The Pantry continues to run with the help of volunteers. Volunteers drive to deliver meals to doorsteps and remain on call to provide emergency food boxes. They say more hands are needed. They are also in need of food and monetary donations.

“The Food Pantry is seeking monthly sponsors to commit to any amount monthly to pay for deliveries and the cost to run the Pantry. Your gift provides nutritious food to neighbors struggling with hunger,” The Food Pantry explained in a statement. “If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Food Pantry at (804) 243-2812 who needs delivery drivers, pantry volunteers, shoppers and more. Ways to financially support Redemption of Chester Food Pantry with your one-time or monthly donation.”

Right now, the Pantry operates out of two spaces, a large space behind Redemption Church and a shed that houses the large refrigerators and freezers. Gray says they hope to raise enough money to get one central location for their services.

“This is living, becoming a person of service is what you do,” said Pastor Didi Gray. “Our desire is to have enough money where we get a van where it has refrigeration, so we can not only bring the food from Food Lion, but we can travel and drop off food. We want to make this bigger than this,” said Pastor Didi Gray.

The Food Pantry served more than 50,000 meals last year, they have a goal of serving 100,000 meals in 2021.

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