By Rachel Williams
The interior doors of the Eastside Church Community Closet and Pantry read like an online chat forum. Words of thanks are mingled in with requests for specific items and unofficial rules for pantry maintenance, things like “This is for everyone, please be respectful.” and “Take only what you need.” What started during the pandemic as acts of kindness and care, despite participants’ abilities to directly interact with others, continues and has has morphed into a larger endeavor to meet the most basic needs of some of our community members.
While Eastside Church produces the pantry, it has taken on a community life of its own that extends beyond the donations of church members. Located between the Eastside sanctuary and administrative buildings at 468 Moreland Avenue, the pantry and closet host non-perishables and high-demand items like socks, blankets, and bottled water to assist unhoused and low-income neighbors with their immediate needs. Eastside is committed to addressing the systemic issues related to food insecurity and lack of affordable housing; at the same time, realizing that the issues require a “both-and” approach. The long-term approach to addressing these crises does not necessarily meet the immediate needs of our most food-insecure population, and Eastside wants to ensure that folks have access to needs like food, water, and hygiene products.
Part of the draw of the pantry is its ease of accessibility. Items may be dropped off at any time. However, if you have a large quantity of items, please email Mike Nugent at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also access the Amazon wish list by emailing email@example.com. The pantry’s greatest needs are pop-top canned items, individual snacks, on-the-go proteins like tuna and peanut butter, and hygiene products of all types.
Believing the collective good leads to a flourishing community, the pantry is truly a group effort. Come join in that effort.