AGENCY SPOTLIGHT: SOUTHSIDE FOOD PANTRY
Author: Elias Piña
Continuing our April Volunteer Month celebration, we’d like to highlight one Spokane pantry that could not do their work in the community without the help of volunteers.
The Southside Food Pantry, tucked behind a buzzing South Hill shopping center, continues to serve residents of Spokane every Saturday from 11 a.m. -12 p.m. With only one paid staff, Southside Food Pantry functions on the generosity of volunteers to pick up food, sort items, and create premade boxes of shelf stable food for clients throughout the week.
“We are very thankful and grateful for volunteers during the week,” says Food Pantry Director Nicolle Caballero, when asked weekly operations. In fact, Southside Food Pantry’s mission to make each of their volunteers feel valued keeps them returning – including one volunteer who has been helping for 19 years. “Our volunteers are valuable to providing hope in these times.” Caballero herself started as a volunteer for a few years before recently taking over as the Pantry Director herself in December of 2021.Second Harvest’s partnership with Southside Food Pantry has been crucial in meeting the recent client increase across Spokane County, which is supported through weekly deliveries as well as daily pick-ups at a nearby grocery store courtesy of our Grocery Rescue program. “We are seeing record numbers that have been steadily rising over the last three months,” Caballero mentioned, “Second Harvest is definitely essential to serving our community and serving clients.” Most recently, Southside Food Pantry reported an increase of about 400 new clients over the month of March as gas and grocery prices remain high, but the folks are ready to serve each everyone to “help alleviate the worry about where a family’s next meal is coming from.”
Although distribution happen one day a week, there are necessary midweek activities that are done with the help of volunteers which include stocking shelves from deliveries, picking up and sorting food from local grocery stores. Even with an established volunteer group, Southside Food Pantry is still seeking volunteers for the weekly grocery store pick-ups throughout the week.
If you’d like to volunteer for Grocery Rescue pick-up opportunities with Southside Food Pantry, please contact Nicolle at email@example.com.
For anyone in Spokane seeking low barrier food assistance on Saturdays, Caballero offers an open invitation to everyone.
“If you’re in need, come on down to see us from 11am – 12pm”