The Food Pantry, a part of the Peace Center on the Saddleback Lake Forest campus began stocking its shelves in May 2009. The joy and happiness the Food Pantry and its volunteers have been able to deliver has been in effect since the pantry began its operation in 2010. At the end of their first year the people at the Food Pantry had served 23,946 people and supplied families with enough food for a week.
Since the Food Pantry opened its doors, the Pantry has been able to serve 3,500 people with food per month. The food bought by Saddleback and donated by companies to the pantry is given to the families completely free. Nothing is asked for in return, just a name and photo identification. The main purpose of the PEACE center, like other Saddleback ministries and programs, is love people the way Jesus did.
“The goal of the Food Pantry is to give people hope, purpose, and food,” says Food Pantry Manager Carrie Miranda. By attracting people in need of nourishment the pantry seeks to provide nourishment for souls.
The pantry serves food to Orange County residents who are facing financial difficulty and are in need of assistance.
Once a month, families are given a chance to shop once a month for a week’s worth of food. Families who visit the pantry are given a bag of protein options and fresh produce. Not only can the people who visit the pantry attain food but they can also receive toiletry items. Each family who visits receives a bag of pre-selected goods and is also privileged to have personal choice and select items based on desire and need.
Twenty-five percent of the food obtained by the pantry is purchased through local food banks, and the remainder is received through donations by Saddleback church attendees. If you would like to donate to the pantry, drop off your donation at the Peace Center or in a blue barrel located on your local Saddleback campus.
Food pantry volunteers are on hand to stock shelves during the week, drive the trucks that collect and deliver food, as well as taking care of administrative tasks in the Peace Center. Volunteer opportunities are available for individuals, families, and small groups.
“The Saddleback Church Food Pantry is unique in that we focus on loving people in Jesus’ name first and giving food second,” says Carrie. “ We regularly hear from our families that they like to come here because they are treated with love and dignity. Because of this focus, over 1500 people have accepted Jesus as their savior at our Pantry.”
If you would like to visit the Food Pantry or volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Walk-ins are also welcome: business hours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.