LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Feeding programs are a necessary fact of life for many here in southwest Louisiana. A food distribution program is growing so fast that it needs more room.
Volunteers with the Pantry of Hope are gearing up for another distribution this weekend. The pantry is a mission of Word of Hope Church on Eest Prien Lake Road.
“We’re distributing these supplies with love,” said Valerie Jenkins, director. “Just as Jesus did. We’re showing them love—letting them know that they’re not in this by themselves. We’re here for you. We’re here to support you and be here whenever you need us.”
All of the volunteers say they take part in the distribution because they want to encourage others.
“You don’t know what people are going through,” said Shonda Richard, assistant manager. “So, it can be more than just them just being hungry. It can be that they need a word of encouragement. For you to say it’s going to be okay and to let them know as a church, we are here to help.”
New construction in the rear of the current church facility will include a new area for the Pantry of Hope.
“We knew that we needed a place that was sufficient enough to have food here,” said Janise Williams, who is wife of Pastor Charlie Williams III. She is known as the “First Lady” of the church. “We didn’t want to just box up the food. We wanted this area here to be more like a grocery store where they can come in and park and go down the aisles and choose their groceries.”
“Those that are involved—they have a passion for it,” said Jenkins. “We’re not on salary. We don’t get paid. This is strictly volunteer. So, those that volunteer really want to give back to the community in whatever way that they can.”
While Pantry of Hope accepts donations from the public, they are also assisted by the Second Harvest food bank. Donations of food and toiletry items are taken at the pantry located at 3975 E. Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles.