The Ecumenical Food Pantry (EFP) at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Milford is still thriving after 27 years serving Pike county residents. With the help of local businesses, community organizations, churches, and individual volunteers, the pantry helps feed around 40 families every week.
When asked about what’s involved in running the pantry, the Rev. Van Bankston replied, “A lot of people are involved. Methodists, Roman Catholics, local grocery stores, community groups… the Milford Garden Club even grows produce for the food pantry.” The pantry also receives food from Second Harvest, the local food bank.
EFP has grown since it began operations in Good Shepherd’s basement in 1991. Since then it has moved into the church’s rectory and become a “client choice pantry,” where clients can pick from categories of food rather than getting a preset box. “We’re the only client choice pantry in Pike County, and I’m very proud of that,” said Nancy Potter, the director of EFP. “I think it’s important because [the clients] get to choose what they actually like to eat.”
EFP has recently started a “Healthy Options Program” in order to provide more fresh and nutritious food choices to their clients. “We’ve been trying more and more to stress healthy options…we have fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk and meat. Every family gets at least half a gallon of milk-larger families get a gallon,” said Jim Snodgrass, a member of the advisory committee for EFP. The pantry also runs a “Summer Meals-4-Kids Program” that provides additional food for children who receive free breakfasts and lunches from their school during the school year.
Potter is glad to see how the community has rallied around EFP. “The community really comes together,” said Potter. “It’s really a worthwhile a project.”