The Commerce Journal

April 9, 2014

Food pantry assists the ‘working poor’

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — When Bread of Life Church of the Nazarene took over a monthly food pantry from Word of Life Church in Commerce, Pastor Jan Wilton told members of the Commerce Lions Club she felt a need to help the Commerce community.

Bread of Life Church is a part of the Commerce Alliance for Ministry, an organization designed to help the poor of the city. And during one of its meetings when it was announced that Word of Life Church was closing, Wilton said her church would fill the void.

Wilton said members of the church, located on 301 Highway 224, were on board with keeping the food pantry open.

“I went to my church and was so glad to hear them say ‘yes, we want to do this,’” she said, adding it opened its doors to the food pantry in November of last year and served 120 families. “Over the course of that month we were able to serve the families.”

Since this food pantry keeps its doors open at a later time, from 5-8 p.m. every third Wednesday, Wilton said it serves what she calls the “working poor,” and does not compete with the food pantry housed inside the First Presbyterian Church. 

“Those people who are working at minimum wage but are not able to cover everything,” she said. 

The pantry receives a bulk of their food from the North Texas Food Bank. 

Since the food pantry is a non-profit organization, they only had to pay little more than $170 for 6,400 pounds of food to be shipped to the location.

Since the pantry now serves more than 150 families every month, Wilton said they have to keep track of which families come through in the computer system. 

Wilton said that is a big task for the organization.

“With all of the new people coming in you can imagine the data,” she said, adding her team has been diligent in keeping the records. “I have a good team here that makes the most of it. God is in control of it.”

Along with receiving food from the North Texas Food Bank, Wilton said they also receive discounted food from the Commerce Walmart.

“We have the privilege of picking up 1,000 to 1,5000 pounds of food from Walmart,” she said, adding they receive seasonal items after the season. 

Wilton said she wants the pantry to not only feed the families who come through, but also to assist in getting them out of poverty.

“What can we do to do a better job of getting people out of poverty?” she said. “We need to put a bridge to get them from poverty to self-reliance.”

“We want to be able to make a difference in Commerce and reach out,” she said.