Food pantry draws churches together in service to others


By Barb Arland-Fye

Keith Perry, manager of Food Pantry at The Center in Davenport, completes a package of groceries for a customer visiting the emergency food pantry Jan. 30. Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport operates the food pantry while volunteers from nearly a dozen different churches staff it.

DAVENPORT — A preschool-age boy wearing a heavy winter jacket and big boots tromped into the lobby of Food Pantry at The Center, accompanied by a tall man. As they moved toward the emergency food pantry’s counter, the little boy reached for the man’s hand, without saying a word. The two hands linked as the man told pantry volunteers that he needed a bag of groceries. Other adults also entered the lobby  to pick up food to tide them over.
Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport operates Food Pantry at The Center, but nearly a dozen different churches participate in this ministry of providing food to people in need in east central Davenport. St. John’s United Methodist Church, across the street from The Center, donates space in that building for the food pantry which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
“We’re ecumenical; we have volunteers and support from many churches. It doesn’t work without ecumenical support,” said Deacon Bob McCoy of the Davenport Diocese, who serves as the food pantry’s coordinator. In that role he manages finances and serves as liaison to Churches United of the Quad City Area. That nonprofit agency oversees a network of 24 food pantries in the Iowa and Illinois Quad-City region, said Anne Wachal, acting director of Churches United. Food Pantry at The Center is among the two largest food pantries in the network on the Iowa side of the Mississippi  River, she noted.

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