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The need for food is still high, as local food pantries welcome back needed volunteers

Posted at 9:10 AM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 10:10:21-04

TEMPLE, TX — It would take an army to feed all of those who need food in Central Texas, especially during the pandemic.

“We were working with 10, 10 and sometimes seven, but we made it work,” said Retha Snelson, the interim director of Churches Touching Lives for Christ.

She explained that seven volunteers during the pandemic, when the food pantry transitioned from an in-person distribution to a drive-through distribution, was the worst she’s seen.

However, one loyal volunteer is Tammy Robinson, someone who started her journey when her other hobbies, like going to church, were shut down.

“We do so much that’s just temporary, that passes,” Robinson said. “This is something that makes a difference that lasts and it makes me feel like 'yeah, it mattered that I was here.'”

She’s among a growing group of volunteers at Churches Touching Lives for Christ, and a part of the reason why Snelson can wave goodbye to stressful food distributions they’ve experienced over the course of the past year.

“We had to search for people that were willing to be here during the pandemic,” Snelson explained. “We had to run with a real short crew.”

Now that vaccines are available to most Texans and restrictions are the opposite of what they were this time last year, the crew is more ready than ever to get back and serve again.

“We can't do this without volunteers,” Snelson said. “I'm a volunteer, everyone here is a volunteer, there's no way that we could do this without the people that come and help us.”

There were over a dozen people helping get grocery boxes and organizing foods at the organization Monday, getting ready to help those who need it the most for the following day.

“There were so many people who needed stuff because they've lost so much during the storm and everything, with COVID and everything, there were so many people that were out of work,” Robinson said, thinking back to serving food during the height of the pandemic.

While we were taking it one day at a time just a year ago, these folks live by the mantra, "Feeding the need one grocery box at a time."

“It's just good to be able to have something that you can do to help people out,” Robinson said, smiling.

The Churches Touching Lives for Christ food pantry hands out food, clothes and toiletries every Tuesday from 12:30 pm to 3:40 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 11:40 am.