Agency Spotlight | Trinity Lutheran Church Food Pantry Benefits from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Trinity Lutheran Church operates a growing food pantry in Riverside/Avondale, which makes a huge impact in the neighborhood. The pantry is operated solely by volunteers and distributes food to the needy six days per week. We recently received this amazing story from the folks at Trinity and wanted to share. BACKGROUND: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture that sources and provides food to needy community members nationwide through a network of food banks. In north Florida, Nourishment Network is the designated TEFAP contractor, which means that the federal government trucks the TEFAP food to our warehouse on Jessie Street and we distribute it to our member agencies across our 17-county service area. About 14 percent of all food distributed by Nourishment Network comes from the TEFAP program. TEFAP food is allocated and distributed by county as determined by the USDA and based on poverty levels. The USDA controls when and how much TEFAP food is delivered to Nourishment Network.  

From the Trinity Lutheran Chuch Food Pantry

Another Miracle on Park Street

The first week in December 2012, our food pantry director, Tom Culverwell, and Pastor Robert were discussing the food situation in the food pantry. The food supply was very low, and so were the funds used to purchase food. In fact, Tom had to cancel a bulk purchase order because paying for the order would not leave any funds to purchase food from the sharing floor at Nourishment Network North Florida. Tom was so concerned about the situation that he asked everyone he met to please pray that God wouid provide a solution. Many people prayed, and God answered their prayer. And when God answers prayers, especially for one of his ministries, he delivers. 

On Friday, December 7, 2013, Tom received a phone call from Joe Molenda, his food pantry co-director. Joe had received a phone call from Anjella Theodore, agency coordinator at Nourishment Network, who asked Joe if the Trinity Food Pantry could accept a large amount of USDA TEFAP food. Joe told Anjella to give Tom Culverwell a call and discuss this with him. Anjella cailed Tom and told him they had received a large shipment of surplus USDA TEFAP food and it needed to be distributed to their participating agencies. USDA TEFAP food is the free food that the Trinity food pantry receives at the beginning of each month. Many of the food pantries that receive food from Nourishment Network are small, one day a week operations with very limited storage space, and they could not accept the food because they didn‘t have any place to store it. 

Anjella said they could deliver four pallets of food and asked if our food pantry could accept it. Tom told her we would be delighted to receive it. On Monday, December 10th, Joe Molenda was at the food pantry early to meet the delivery truck. When the truck arrived, it had a total of 12 pallets of food, weighing 21,088 pounds! There was so much that Joe had to call in additional help. Ron Gross and Don Rull were already at the food pantry when the truck arrived, but they, along with Joe, needed additional help to handle the large amount of food. Bill Hiers, Gary Hautau, and Byron Bollingberg arrived to help bring everything in to the food pantry. 

Once the delivery was completed and put inside the food pantry and church garage, Joe called Tom to report how much food was received. Joe talked about how wonderful it was for the USDA and Nourishment Network North Florida to give us so much food. Tom answered they may have been the method of delivery, but it was God who provided the food. He provided the people who grew, processed, packaged, and delivered the food. When God answers prayer, He answers them in a BIG WAY!