What are we doing with a mountain of rice, beans, corn tortillas and adobe spice seasoning? It looks like we are getting ready for a Latino party! In a sense, that is true.
Tuesday, September 8th is the first day that our St. Vincent de Paul food pantry will start its bilingual operation. They have asked Firstlink to send around 4 Spanish-speaking families for starters, to see how it goes.
There was a very positive response from the Latino community here at St. James the Less. Fr. Pat got a significant number of volunteers and they are all scheduled to help out each Tuesday evening. There was no hesitation from the Latino community to help.
One goal is to serve the Latino community without reducing the meals served to the English-speaking community. In other words, we are growing and serving more families!
Beverly and I recently visited the food pantry of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the southwest corner of Columbus. In many ways, they are very much like the pantry in our building and it runs pretty much the same. However, we did learn some great tips which made the trip well worth it.
Latinos will certainly eat American food, but there is no reason not to find items that are particularly appealing to them. People often know how to stretch their food dollars better if they eat foods that are familiar to them. However, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank (which is the primary supplier of the food pantries) often does not stock large amounts of dry rice, beans, corn flour, etc. Pantries have to buy them.
The Guadalupe pantry is actually right across the street from a Restaurant Depot--a immense warehouse that supplies food to restaurants. They can get an outrageous deal on bulk items there, such as 50 lbs of rice for $15! What they do is buy the bulk items them repackage them into smaller quantities for individual families. They even have a vacuum sealer that can melt the plastic to fit each package. Is there anyone out here who has one they are willing to part with to a good cause?
Beverly made a generous donation to get us started with the above items. Along with other items that the pantry stocks, we'll be sure that these Latino families also take some some rice, beans, tortillas and the adobe seasoning (the stuff that makes rice turn red that you often get at Mexican restaurants). We'll also make sure we have a generous supply of hot peppers right from the garden! We are also looking for an inexpensive way to get masa corn flour.