'Welcome to the Pantry'

By Dave Warner

She looked a bit lost, and then I spotted the red tag in her hand as she approached the scale we use to weigh the amount of food leaving the food cupboard with our patrons.

That tag, of course, means she was a newcomer, an identification the volunteers use to make sure we help new folks who are unfamiliar with the pantry.  So, I made sure I gave her extra attention as I wheeled her shopping cart to her car.

When we arrived at the sidewalk in front of the church, she hesitated, and looked very sad. I paused, and then I saw the moistness in her eyes, just on the verge of tears.

“This is the first time I can have my grandchildren over at my house to feed them,” she explained. “I never had food for them before.”

And then she cried, and she put her arms around me, and I hugged her, too. It was just the two of us, standing on the sidewalk with a light drizzle coming down. We both cried.

She was happy, and I was happy for her.

“Welcome to the pantry,” I told her.

Dave Warner is a volunteer at the food cupboard. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry each week.