Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am - 12pm, CCC's Dibert food pantry in Richmond is open and ready for those looking for assistance with their groceries.
In 2023, CCC's food pantries experienced a 42% increase in visitors, and our shelves have been at their lowest.
Cindy Gill & Colleen McNally have volunteered with Dibert food pantry for 8 years. We sat down with Cindy & Colleen to learn more about what volunteering at the food pantry looks like.
What does a typical day look like for you?
We basically are here from 9-12 and we just make bags that have a set amount of food in them for a 1-2 person household, 3-4 person, and 5+ people households.
When someone comes they either sign a sheet that they’re returning or they fill out a new one and we enter it in the computer and we keep track
How many people do you see on a daily basis?
It does vary.... 8 - 10 households - that's a busy day... [lately] it's just been busy... maybe 15 [households].
What is your favorite part about volunteering with Dibert?
Colleen: “ When you get someone who is in dire need and distraught - you feel like you can do something to at least make some part of that person’s day a little bit better, I feel like that’s what I’m here for.”
Cindy: “It just really gives you a feeling of satisfaction that you maybe can contribute to helping a little bit."
Colleen: “But it is a part of our faith, and we are very faith-filled. And so I feel like that is where it’s really coming from. We feel like what we are doing works for people and that’s what God wants us to do. So that’s where it starts.”
What should someone coming to the food pantry expect to experience?
Clients are able to come once a month, and they are sent off with a paper with a return date. This sheet has both an English and Spanish side.
The volunteers are also sure to ask each individual coming in about their circumstances, because some folks are being put up in a hotel for a while and do have a microwave but no pot.
We try to accommodate as much as we can.
What should people consider when making a donation to the food pantry?
It’s important to think about what types of things to donate too. Not everyone who comes in to the pantry will have access to a kitchen space, microwave, or even a can opener. There are separate bags for individuals experiencing homelessness. Cans that have pop tops and other things that can be easily done are important.
When certain items and essentials are low, that’s when funds allocated to the pantry are used to go out and buy necessities to stock up. It’s important to let people know that they can donate food and goods but they can also donate money to Dibert – and we really appreciate it.
Is there anything else you want to add?
We’re very thankful for Commonwealth Catholic Charities to even provide this. They’ve been very strong about it for years, so it’s obviously a major part in what they want to do. And it is a need, no doubt.”
Any individual can drop off donations between 9-12 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If you feel compelled to do a drive, contact our office to see if there’s a good time to drop [larger donations] off. The team is ready to work with anyone who is looking to do something like that or donate any goods.
For those in the Roanoke region, CCC has the St Francis Food Pantry at 820 Campbell Ave. Roanoke, VA 24106.
Learn more about our food pantries including their current needs.
Interview conducted by Sarah Beam, CCC Development Specialist