Hours of Operation
The Food Pantry is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. unless posted otherwise.
Entrance to the Food Pantry is at the north (rear) door. A greeter will be on hand to assist if there are any mobility needs. The Food Pantry is on the lower (basement) level of the church with adequate seating and restroom access.
Please note, waiting lines are not uncommon. If the weather is inclement, shelter will be provided inside, but serving will not begin until 8:30 a.m.
Visitors and Clients - what to bring and expect
Please bring a photo identification. You may with to bring your own bags, although the Pantry does provide bags. If you have not visited the Pantry within the last 6 months, you may need to fill out new registration.
There will be many servers on hand to assist visitors and clients. All persons being served by our pantry will follow a system to select needed food and (when available) hygiene items. During summer months, fresh food from local farms and gardens is not uncommon.
All clients are expected to be respectful of others and obey community laws and ordinances.
The Food Pantry story
The St. John's Food Pantry began as a one room operation in the early 1990s. Over the years many church leaders have recognized increasing local need. Through community grants and raised awareness, the St. John's Food Pantry has become the largest pantry of its kind in the downtown corridor of Elkhart. The Food Pantry has since grown into much of the lower level of St. John's with rooms designated for inventory and the use of the Great Hall to accommodate visitors and clients.
Leadership and how to help
Charlie Goethals has served as Director of the Food Pantry since 2010. Food Pantry Officers include Margery Paulen, John Yonkers, and Sandi Borneman (Treasurer). The Pantry relies on the support of many in the church and community. Here are some of the ways people contribute:
Servers and greeters - people who help with clients during hours of operation, from registering to serving to being a welcoming presence.
Inventory help - a crew of helpers is necessary during large food deliveries. This includes stacking and arranging supplies in an orderly way and to be in compliance with the FDA.
Grant writers, finances, PR, and shoppers - while many contribute both food and money to the pantry, both financial accountability and the willingness to raise additional funds through grant writing is essential for the management of the Pantry. On top of that, food must be purchased. The St. John's Food Pantry works closely with several agencies in the community and is thankful for their support and in raising awareness. The Food Pantry works with other ministries of St. John's in mutual support, including neighborhood picnics.
Donors and contributors - last but not least, the Food Pantry relies on the donations made by church members and the community at large, including the Postal Carrier's Food Drive. Financial donations are appreciated to allow the Food Pantry to shop for immediate needs and often through reduced bulk purchases. That said, every food item donated - from a can of soup to a bag of rice - is appreciated.
If you are interested in helping or would like to learn more, please contact Charlie Goethals at (574) 523 -2822.