The pantry began more than 24 years ago as a broader social ministry that dealt with things like furniture, clothing and food. It has now developed a focus on feeding the hungry in the community.
“With only having one paid full-time staff person, it was just way too much to be able to do all of it,” the Director of Food Pantry Outreach Thomas Stumpf said. “But the food outreach was what people needed the most, so that’s what they decided to stick with. That’s why we do it.”
The food pantry at St. Andrew is unique. This pantry is one of the few client-choice pantries in Tarrant County.
“A lot of places you go, they do the prepackaged thing where you come in, you sign your name, and then you’re handed three or four bags that are already packed,” Stumpf said. “Everybody gets the exact same thing.”
The client-choice system allows clients to pick which type of vegetables, protein and frozen meat they want, amongst other options.
“By going to client-choice, people are able to choose what they want for their family, and that in itself helps return some of the dignity that’s lost by having to come to a place like this to get extra food for their families,” Stumpf said.
This system allows more interaction between the volunteers and clients. Every client gets the opportunity to speak with a volunteer.
“From what I’ve heard, it really has changed the dynamic between the volunteers and the clients,” Stumpf said. “It relieves some of that judgment of the volunteers on the clients, and it alleviated some of that anger that the clients felt. It changed the atmosphere to a much more friendly one on both ends.”
The pantry’s normal hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon until 2 p.m.
Residents in the 76109, 76110 and 76115 zip codes and parish members are eligible to use the food pantry during normal business hours. However, the pantry will serve anyone once and operates on different requirements once a week.
“We are open Monday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 for folks who live in Fort Worth but are working,” Stumpf said. “You can live in any zip code in Fort Worth, and as long as you or somebody in the house is working and that’s why you can’t get here during the day, you can come Monday nights.”
Donations of food, toiletries and money to the pantry are accepted while volunteers are there. For more information, visit www.standrewcc.org.