Jan and Kiah Beville spoke to the Kiwanis club about the Winn Food Pantry at the December 6th Kiwanis meeting. They shared their appreciation for being named Grand Marshall of the Winnfield Christmas Parade. It was a great honor and the Food Pantry is probably the longest continuous ministry in the parish. It began in 1983 after a Sunday school class studied the book “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger”. Pastor Keith Hill and his wife Sarah ran the ministry out of the manse for a while. When they moved other church members kept the ministry going. It began with just 2 people and now there is an average of 20 volunteers every Thursday from 12:30PM to 2:30PM. Some days every one of them is needed. A member of the Presbyterian church, Will Radescich, met with a dietitian to determine what goes in the bag.
The Community Food Pantry still operates under the auspices of the First Presbyterian church. At the request of his mother, Kiah and Jan Beville began working with the Food Pantry. Kiah buys the groceries and Jan handles the money. It is all volunteer run and the money comes from donations. The volunteers come from different churches and are from all walks of life. School organizations and churches and other groups also provide donations of food. The food that is purchased is bought locally from Mac’s, Brookshire’s and Wal Mart. Jordan Eggs donates eggs each week.
A person can receive food every 4 weeks. There is an application to be filled out. They must live in Winn Parish. During the pandemic the Food Pantry never stopped operation. How people received food was altered. Money and volunteers multiplied during that time.
Each member received a list of what is in the bag and was told about lagniappe bags, protein bags and snack bags. The snack bags(bags of blessings) have been provided by all kinds of different groups including churches, clubs, families, etc. The average food cost per month is $5600 which includes donated food not just food that is purchased by the pantry.
During the pandemic the Food Pantry suffered a great loss with the death of Jay Hinckley who was an integral part of what happened at the Food Pantry much of it behind the scenes.
The Food Pantry is a vital part of our community and we need to support it however we can whether it be with money or our time.