Local food pantry in need of volunteers; see how you can help

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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As the need for food rises in local communities, the United Board of Missions is seeking a few additional volunteers to work on select weekdays at the in-house food pantry.

Program Director Jay Keith said the organization, headquartered on 9th Avenue in Port Arthur, requires 10-15 volunteers each week to fill the 15-20 orders that are given to members of the community.

The United Board of Missions’ in-house food pantry serves those from the area in need of assistance with the goal to provide one week’s worth of food for every member of the family. And officials say the number of families asking for services is increasing.

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“The cost of everything is going up, but typically the salaries that are being paid are not going up,” Keith said.

Volunteers pack orders of food donated by residents, churches or purchased from the Food Bank of Southeast Texas.

Funds to purchase the food also come from donations, as well as money raised at Mission’s Attic in Groves.

However, officials have been combatting the theft of donations left at the United Board of Missions and Mission’s Attic to ensure the resale shop continues to have merchandise.

Recently those with the UMB have been releasing surveillance video of overnight theft on social media and requesting identification help from the public.

“I feel like we’re going to have some success here,” said Executive Director Debbie Perkins. “Both police departments are building cases with our videos that we’re collecting and sending to them. It has been determined if it’s a 501(c)3, it automatically bumps the class on the charge no matter the level.”

Want to volunteer in other ways?

The United Board of Missions is also in need of volunteers for Meals on Wheels. Volunteers work in one of two areas — kitchen and drivers.

Those in the kitchen work directly with the cook, Keith said, and must have a food handler’s license. However, UMB will help pay for that. Hours are 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays.

Drivers begin at 10 a.m. and must have all meals on their route delivered by 12:15 p.m.

Meals on Wheels serves more than 2.4 million people across the country.

To volunteer locally, call 409-748-9948 or email MOW@UnitedMissions.org.