NORTH PORT — They are partnerships Larry Grant says were crafted through God’s plan.
Grant, the coordinator of the Awaken Church food pantry, only dreamed of giving food and feeding the homeless and needy in North Port. The pantry officially opened March 19.
From 9 a.m. to noon today, he welcomes the community for a open house to celebrate the new food pantry in the old Salvation Army location, 4940 Pan American Blvd., at the North Port Senior Educational Center.
“Awaken Church understands the great need in our community of people needing food and to be cared for and ministered to and given hope,” Grant said. “We can connect them to other services in our community that we are networking with that they may need them.”
In the past few months, Awaken Church partnered with the Jewish Family Center Services and All Faiths Food Bank. This week, the church gave 300 meals through the new outreach and food pantry. Fellowship Church and Paradise Grill restaurant in Nokomis also donate meals.
Awaken recently received dozens of boxes of food to help launch the pantry from When All Else Fails, a new nonprofit group. Church volunteers helped during a food give away in the morning then during an afternoon food drive. The drive was done to replace the postponed postal canned food drive in May.
“We are grateful that God has put so many great resources there for us to be able to help others,” Grant said. “We need volunteers, we have a great group.”
Office hours including walk up clients and those in need of other services such as ministering, prayer, counseling, and connection to other services is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. People can drive through the large pantry is 10 a.m. to noon on Fridays.
With a new refrigerator and a freezer, the church can give meats and fresh veggies.
“We are going to work on raising money for more freezers and other needs,” he said. “We are so excited to be serving God and our community. Pastor Brian and Awaken members are incredibly supportive and excited to serve our mission field.”
The pantry will always collect donations of nonperishable food, grocery store and gas gift cards, toiletries including toothpaste, toothbrushes, baby wipes and diapers, new socks, bar soap, deodorant, razors, feminine products, etc. They want new items only and trial sizes welcomed.
“This helps us serve this community and provide special events, buy supplies, etc.,” Grant said. “We are here. People don’t have to come to our church to get help. We are here to help. We want people to know God loves them. We love them.”