By, Joe Seitz, Program Director, Our Daily Bread Food Pantry
I had been in my new role as director of Our Daily Bread Food Pantry about three months when word came about a pandemic called coronavirus (COVID-19) was making its way across the globe. I would realize later how much this revelation was going to change our lives here in Wichita.
Prior to March 2020, we were serving an average of 900 households, consisting of about 3,000 individuals, on a monthly basis. As the community lockdowns and layoffs began, we started to notice a dramatic uptick in the need for our services.
Due to the concerns of contracting and spreading the virus, we moved our entire operation of distribution outdoors. Overnight we went from a client choice pantry, where clients could actually walk our aisles and choose the items that best fit their needs, to prepacking bags and distributing via a drive thru model in the parking lot.
Almost overnight more than 30 of our 45 volunteers suspended coming to volunteer due to the health risks.
Volunteer at Our Daily Bread helps prepare food bags to hand out to hungry families.
Demand for food assistance increasing
We now found ourselves in a situation we had never expected or experienced before. The demand for food assistance was increasing by the week, and the available volunteer staff had shrunk to a new low. As a leader, I was about as close to a panic as I had ever been. I would lay awake at night and brainstorm how we were going to be able to sustain during these most difficult days ahead.
Our daily practice at the pantry is to pray in the mornings prior to opening. We pray each morning and we thank God for the opportunity we have to share His love by providing food, encouragement and love to all those we meet. We ask that the food be sufficient to get into every household that comes to us. I came to realize that what happens at the pantry is totally in God’s control. He has been so faithful in taking care of his people. I feel blessed every day to watch Him work.
Serving at record rates
We continue to serve food at record rates. Serving an average of 2,000 households, consisting of 6,500 individuals, each month. We have never run out of food, closed our doors or turned away anyone seeking food assistance.
Thank you for your support in blessing others
We would not have food to provide all these families without the generous support of donors; we are forever grateful to all those who provide cash or non-perishable food items. I am happy to report our volunteer group is fully staffed again. I thank God every day for our volunteers. They are simply the best!
We are so blessed to have our partners, Kansas Food Bank, local donors and individuals by our sides during this entire process. They have worked tirelessly to assist in getting food and money resources needed to serve the needs of our community.
Let us pray that 2021 will be a year of healing and reflection of God’s love on His people.
In His Service,
Learn more about Our Daily Bread Food Pantry
We would like to hear from you! Call 316-264-8344 or Email us:
St. Joseph Pastoral Center
437 North Topeka st.
Wichita. KS 67202-2431
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Wichita is a 501(c)(3). All gifts are tax-deductible.
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316-264-8344 ext. 1262
The Wichita Diocese covers 20,021 square miles and includes 25 counties in the southeast corner of the state. It is home to over 114,000 Catholics in 90 parishes.