Lynchburg food pantry ‘serving from the heart’


Thankful comments keep volunteers coming back

By Jacob Clary - jclary@aimmediamidwest.com



The Because He Lives Food Pantry in Lynchburg is working to serve God, according to Richard Crabtree, the director of the food pantry, and Kevin Krannitz, the advisor for the pantry’s Senior Box Program.

Crabtree said the food pantry, located at 111 S. Main St., has been helping people for “over” seven years at its current location in Lynchburg. He said the organization outgrew its original building, which was about half the size of its current building.

“Don’t never tell God you can’t have something… It was the old bank that’s right on the square in town. The bank donated us that building, valued at over $350,000… If you can take a major corporation and get them to give you something like that, that means something,” Crabtree said.

He also said the Lynchburg First Church of Christ “actually started it years ago.” Since then, the food pantry has worked to bring more churches in the area onboard. The churches it is currently partnered with are: Lynchburg Methodist Church, Lynchburg Lutheran Church, Pearl Street Church of Christ, Dodsonville Church of Christ and Pricetown Church of Christ.

“That’s hard to get all the churches to work together and we did it,” Crabtree said. “There’s still several more churches in our area that we serve and as we need more people, we ask other churches. That’s our goal, is to get every church in our area involved in the food pantry.”

Crabtree said currently the food pantry only has two programs. The first is where it gives food to low-income people. This program allows people that qualify to get food every week. The food pantry does not currently deliver for the program.

The other program is the Senior Box Program, which Crabtree said started three years ago and is for people 60 and older, but still low-income. Krannitz said those people come in to fill out an application, must live in Highland County and qualify their income, which is based on federal income guidelines at about 130 percent.

“Fixed income, with one person, would be $1,383 a month and that’s what we usually go by,” he said.

Krannitz said after qualifying for the program, those served get a box each month that has a nonperishable item, a couple of gallons of juice and some canned food such as fruit or vegetables.

He said they can come in any week of the month they like when the food pantry is open. That is on Mondays from 9 a.m. until noon or Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. Crabtree said that for this program only, the Masonic Lodge in Lynchburg will deliver for people living inside the village limits.

He said the food pantry serves about 20 to 25 people on Monday and 25 to 30 on Tuesday, and the Senior Box Program serves about 80 people a month.

For those interested in donating to the pantry, Crabtree said “it’s easier for everybody” if the donations are monetary. He also said the pantry is not currently online to allow for donations that way, so people must come in when it is open.

“We can actually get more out of monetary donations than we can canned stuff,” he said. “If you go and buy a couple cans of vegetables, I can almost buy a case for it… We actually get food from the Freestore Food Bank and it only costs us about $3 a case whereas you’d spend $3 on two cans.”

However, he said if monetary donations are not possible, the food pantry is always looking for canned fruit/vegetables and any kind of nonperishable food. Crabtree also said the food pantry likes to give cleaning supplies and hygiene items to those it helps.

“God put everybody in that position for Monday and Tuesday to serve the poor,” Krannitz said. “That’s what we’re there for. That’s what all of the food pantries are there for. It’s our duty. It’s our duty as Christians to serve these people and that’s what do, and it comes from our heart… It makes me want to cry. We’re working so hard for the community for the Senior Box Program.”

Crabtree said all the people that work at the food pantry are non-paid volunteers. He said they work anywhere from six hours to 10 to 12 hours a week and perform tasks such as taking the donation baskets outside, stocking shelves, unpacking boxes and sorting out bad produce.

“We don’t give anything that we won’t eat ourselves, so we throw the stuff away that needs to be thrown away,” he said.

Crabtree said the organization is currently looking for a volunteer that is familiar with technology that can help the food pantry get its website running correctly. He said the organization already has a website and domain name, but needs someone familiar with running it.

To reach Because He Lives Food Pantry about how to make a donation or to start receiving donations, call 937-579-5210 or email bhlfoodpantry@aol.com.

“There are times we have families come in that have a small child, and a small child can tell you so much without telling you a thing,” Crabtree said. “We had a family come in and a small girl … was setting out in the car and one of the bags happened to fall over a little bit and produce rolled out. ‘Mom, there’s apples. When was the last time I had an apple?’ (she asked). We fight over who’s going to take the food out because you don’t know when you’re going to hear something like that. That kid hasn’t had a fresh apple in how long? For her to say something like that, it’s not staged, and we hear it weekly.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Thankful comments keep volunteers coming back

By Jacob Clary

jclary@aimmediamidwest.com