JCFP distribution increases in times of trouble
Jacksboro Community Food Pantry has been serving residents since 2013. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting many individuals out of work, many are beginning to line up for food distribution for the first time.
During a food distribution Monday, April 20, each family received a five-day supply of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I was working and then lost my job,” a man on a bike, who called himself Steve, said. “This is my first time here and I’m grateful.”
First United Methodist Church Pastor and JCFP volunteer Samantha Parson said 155 families and a total of 457 people were served at the distribution April 20. The number is up from 106 families and 275 people in February and 120 families and 306 people in March.
The pantry distribution happens the third Monday of every month. Parson said FUMC, which works with the Parish Church and other county churches on the pantry, had nine volunteers who helped out with the recent distribution.
Sheri Kettlety, who developed the food pantry back in 2013, said in a press release the pantry experienced a 23% increase over average.
“Today, the community of Jacksboro took a stand against hunger, prioritized others and triumphed,” Kettlety stated.
About 50% of the people served are under the age of 18, Kettlety explained.
Because of the expected increase in numbers, the food pantry board organized and implemented a new drive-through protocol with respect to the COVID-19 guidelines issued.
“With this information in hand, Michele Martin worked with a select group of volunteers to pre-pull food based on the data we’ve collected over the years,” Kettlety said. “A simple plan was formulated and they were able to process 90 families within an hour, remarkable under any circumstance. JCFP reached out to Connie McGee at the Jacksboro PD and she was instrumental in the success of moving families through in a timely manner.”
Kettlety said the plan is to return to regular distribution process when it is allowed. Until then, workers who are out front distributing food and assembling bags wore both masks and gloves to keep everyone as safe as possible.
In addition to the food, toiletries were distributed to those who wanted them.
Along with the food distribution the third Monday of the month, a Produce Express truck will be at the Light Church parking lot off of Belknap Street beginning on Wednesday, May 6, from 10 a.m. until the produce runs out. The first Wednesday for produce will be a permanent thing.
Folks wishing to donate food for the pantry can contact Kettlety by calling 972-922-6686 or monetary donations can be mailed to JCFP at P.O. Box 574, Jacksboro, TX, 76458.
Kettlety said the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, where JCFP has been designated to purchase food, provides all food pantries with a one page application and requires them to verify two proofs of residency in Jack County.
“However, as we tell every single person that comes for food, we collect food and money for food in the name of Christ and no one is ever turned away.” Kettlety said.