Volunteers contributed 10,000 hours in 2015 to the North Liberty Community Pantry. These 140 unpaid servants worked the equivalent of five full-time employees in pursuit of their mission “to engage our community in feeding and clothing our neighbors.”
Last year they distributed 299,000 pounds of food and toiletries. An additional 11,000 items of clothing were given away.
The pantry is an outreach ministry of First United Methodist Church in partnership with a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations. Their primary focus is North Liberty and surrounding rural areas of northern Johnson County.
The pantry was created in 1985 as a response to requests from persons in need in their community. Initially, the pantry was a small project that served fifteen to twenty families each month. But because of tremendous population growth in North Liberty and increasing economic strains on residents, leaders expanded the pantry’s ministry in 2004.
Their new Growing Together Garden is one example of a recent expansion of their outreach. The effort provides a sustainable source of fresh fruits and vegetables for hundreds of pantry guests. Produce is being shared with the city’s free summer lunch program for kids and the pantry’s new farmer’s market.
Last year the pantry received $10,000 of support from the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches throughout Iowa.