Access’s role is to provide coordination, education, and support for area congregations and food pantries.

Q 1: Is there a rule that pantries should give out a balanced 3 day supply of food and that clients can only come once per month?

A: Access’s hope and goal is that persons in need be given as much help as it takes and as often as needed to lift them from hunger. In many cases, more than 3 days/once per month is needed and should be provided when possible. Access offers flexible guidelines and supports consideration of each individual’s situation.

Q 2: If we join Access pantry network do we have to report names and follow rules?

A: We do not expect you to report the names of members of your congregation. It is helpful for you to share the names of others you serve, as it enables us to have a truer picture of the need in our community (as well as prevents unnecessary duplication of service.) Access’s role is not to define your ministry but to incorporate what you do into the network.

Q 3: Must we strive to provide consistent bags of food, providing the same items for every client?

A: Pantry computer statistics show that most clients fit into two primary categories. Some clients are in a crisis situation and need several days worth of balanced meals. Many clients find themselves in chronic need and its most helpful to provide supplemental food that is available (from Gleaner’s, donors, etc,) at low or no cost to the pantry. We encourage a store model client choice pantry set-up.

Q 4: Should snack foods be given out to the clients?

A: There are no “good” foods or “bad” foods. Registered Dietitians have found that some children’s diets do not contain adequate calories for growth. Snack foods are a source of nutrition by providing the calories needed for energy. However, we encourage pantries to offer healthy food choices such as fresh produce, dairy products & low salt & sugar items. Obesity and chronic diseases are serious health issues that we want to help address whenever possible.

Did You Know…

  • There are 100 food pantries in the Kent County Food Pantry Network
  • Currently, over 7,000 households are serviced by Kent County food pantries each month
  • Many pantry clients are employed but work at low-paying, part-time jobs that do not cover all of their families’ basic needs
  • The vast majority of households using food pantries have incomes below the poverty level which is $21,200 for a family of four
  • Children were provided by pantries over 220,000 food services last year
  • Over 60% of pantry clients come only once or twice in a year’s time, while 10% come more than 7 times in a year (the majority of these folks are disabled or have extended needs)
  • Food Pantries depend on community support and donations to fill their shelves!