Stories of Hope and Helping: This piece is part of an ongoing series that looks at how our parishes and ministries are caring for our communities during this time of pandemic.
The Red Door Food Pantry (Episcopal Church of the Ascension) is helping area residents who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic by launching a drive-through. Since March 17, the operation has served 3,326 hot meals.
The drive-through can serve the Cartersville community because of widespread community support, said Jeff Tindall, Red Door Managing Director. “We served 3,326 meals in the first week. As we continue to fulfill this mission, it will take additional funds. Organizations and individuals have already stepped up and donated so we can operate for another week.”
The operation also depends upon Red Door’s partnerships with other nonprofits, businesses, and churches.
So far, even the weather has cooperated, Tindall added. “God provided another clear day for us to prepare and serve our neighbors in need. In fact, it feels like we’re getting into a bit of a groove.”
Many elements came together to make the Meals TOGO event work, according to Tindall. First Presbyterian Church, also located in Cartersville, opened its kitchen and parking lot. Shottenkirk Honda of Cartersville brought two grills and labor to cook 650 hamburger patties for Monday’s Dinner TOGO.
Moore’s Gourmet Market donated healthy produce and is helping with some cold storage needs, according to Tindall. Generous donations have come in over the last few days from the Community Can-a-thon, Love2540, and individuals that replenished our budget to allow us to serve this upcoming week. Churches throughout our community have joined alongside partners Will2Way Foundation Inc and the BLESS Coalition to share our call for volunteers to ensure we have the depth in our team to safely execute this mission.
Meanwhile, Red Door continues to provide groceries from it’s home base at Episcopal Church of the Ascension. They streamlined food distribution in response to COVID-19, with a no-touch document policy and a ticket process that allows clients to wait in their cars until their food is ready. They also distributed more food at each pickup so patrons can make fewer trips.
Tindall, who has been with the food pantry since its founding in 2013, said Red Door served over 118,000 pounds of food to more than 14,000 people last year and credit’s its collaboration with the Atlanta Community Food Bank for much of its success.
Other key support came in 2017, when the Episcopal Community Foundation of Middle and North Georgia awarded Red Door a $30,000 grant to purchase a refrigerated delivery truck. That allowed Red Door to create partnerships with BLESS (a faith-based volunteer organization in Cartersville) and the Allatoona Resource Center (an organization managed by Bartow County Government). As part of the grant, Red Door made a ten-year commitment to provide resources, education, and information to the Allatoona community in south Bartow County, where 32% of residents live below the national poverty level, in addition to Red Door’s services it was already providing in downtown Cartersville. Red Door also partners with local animal welfare organizations to provide cat and dog food for their clients’ pets.