Word of Faith Food Pantry – Pt. 1

“We are feeding the county.”

That is the voice of Connie Vermillion, one of the leaders of the Word of Faith Church Food Pantry, located in Monterey.

“My husband and I, and Jeff and Susan Grant, run the pantry. It has been going for quite a while. When Carol Kelley was here, she and her husband started it, at least 15 years ago, if not further back.”

She explained how the pantry works, and where the food and how it is stocked.

“You now, we used to give them – we’d fill a box, and the items that went in, and the number of items that went in, was relative to the number of people in the family. Now, we are what they call “client choice.” They can come in and shop just like they would at the dollar store or Wal-Mart, and they’re told what they can get – they have a card if things are eligible or not eligible for. But they can take what they need, they don’t have to take what we give them – so it’s their choice.

“We’re affiliated with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, and that’s where we purchase all our food. And then, we get food that is donated too, and then we get food that’s been donated from another church, which is really good. And we’re a small pantry – we’re one of the smaller ones.”

And where does the financing come from to purchase the food?

“It comes from donations – from other churches and from individuals. And then we get things – we have one donator that donates and specifies paper products. That’s something they can’t buy with their food stamps. So, this month we’re going to have paper towels, and toilet paper, and laundry detergent. And most of everything is either free from the Food Bank, if it’s designated USDA food, or, if they’ve had to purchase it, we get it at a very, very – nothing price. And then some of it, we pay by the pound – if it’s bread, we pay by the pound, and I can get tons of bread for, like, $.16/lb. And it really – it’s a blessing that they do this.”

She provided more information for those interested.

“The Food Pantry distribution is once a month – third weekend, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, it’s 9:00 – 11:00, and on Sunday it’s 12:00 – 1:00. The requirements for signing up – there is a financial requirement, and any information on that, you can call Susan Grant, she handles the sign-ups for the Food Pantry. Contact information would be myself and my husband, and that number is 499-2323. Or, Susan and Jeff Grant, and their number is 396-4833.”

The day I visited the pantry was a special day, the first Wednesday of the month. On these days, the Blue Ridge Area Mobile Food Pantry is on site, providing even more assistance. The noises you can hear in the background of this interview are volunteers sorting and preparing those products for distribution. For more information on this, stay tuned for Part Two of this story.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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