GUERNSEY – A volunteer army is assembled each week by Guernsey Community Food Pantry director, Pat Russell who is always looking for helpers to assist in food distribution for the communities of Platte County.
Once a month, Russell goes to Evansville to pick up special loads of food available to those families that may need a little help in putting food on their table. On other weeks, the Wyoming Food Bank will deliver loads to Guernsey.
The community food pantry is running out of the basement of the Guernsey United Presbyterian Church located at 310 S. Wyoming Avenue, and has its own nonprofit status and is not associated with the church other than utilizing the space.
According to Pat Russell, in her last end of the year report, the pantry serves an average of 39 children, 26 seniors and 81 adults per month as well as 86 bags of food per month.
Last Friday, councilman Shane Whitworth and Russell drove to Evansville, Wyoming, where there was an availability of fresh produce and frozen chicken. The pickup truck bed was piled high with the chicken while the flat-bed trailer it was pulling was packed with 80 – 25 lb. boxes of fresh produce.
“We looked like a scene out of the Beverly Hillbillies,” Russell said. “We had two pallets of produce. Jeff Bezos from Amazon donated a lot of money to help out during COVID, and that is where that was coming from.”
That grant from Bezos runs through the end of the year and the pantry takes advantage of the program once a month.
Russell and Whitworth also picked up 128 boxes of frozen chicken at 10 lbs. per box from the Wyoming Food Bank.
“You can go up and shop,” Russell said. “And that’s what I did today.”
Families can come to the Guernsey Community Food Pantry each Friday between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Usually families can come in and shop for what they need, but due to the recent COVID restrictions, volunteers that Russell is in charge of will pack the bags of food for those in need.
During the special deliveries of protein and produce, cars drive up and the volunteers will place boxes into the cars, observing social distancing and following the Wyoming Health Deparment guidelines and restrictions.
“Most of this will be gone today,” Russell said, citing the overwhelming needs of the people. “And what I’m going to do is, people that I know didn’t come, I’ll deliver.”
Russell coordinates, shops, organizes, stores, picks up supplies, delivers and puts together the volunteers that are needed to help keep the pantry running efficiently. On an average, she has about 20 volunteers to help distribute and run the pantry.
In addition to the regular food pantry, there is also a mobile food pantry that requires about 12 volunteers to make it run smoothly. Russell said that she is always looking for more people to help volunteer.
“I could use help on any Friday,” she said. “It’s a lot of work to put all the bags together.”
For more information about the pantry or to offer your assistance as a volunteer, call Pat Russell at (303) 807-2727 for assistance.