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Jasmin Cruz walks with her son Adrian from her home on Woodford Street to Open Hands Food Pantry every Tuesday and Thursday.
Along the way various neighborhood children who see them as they play in their yards join the Cruzes. Jasmin does this often, bringing children to the food pantry as well as to church services to give them a safe person to be around and play with while introducing them to a Christian lifestyle.
“I like to try to see other kids stay out of trouble.” said Cruz.
The walk is a short one, but pleasant on a warm summer evening. The children race each other intermittently between streets, and become excited at the thought of the warm meal the pantry will provide.
“The food there is really good,” exclaimed one child. Upon reaching the pantry they are welcomed by smiling faces that glow with understanding, but no trace of pity.
The pantry began in 2007 and has been operating out of its new location on 1111 Industry Road for the past three years.
Every Tuesday and Thursday and third Saturday of the month, Anderson County residents receive the opportunity to get a free meal for themselves and their families. (Free clinics are also held Tuesday nights.)
The pantry caters to seniors and residents at or below the poverty line, and is supported entirely by donation and gifts.
It accepts donations of food year-round to keep the weekly dinners going.
Each week a different organization or church group volunteer to prepare meals, spending their Tuesdays and Thursdays at Open Hands. On this particular Thursday, local Boy Scout Troop 37 helped to serve residents.
Becky Sparrow, the current director of the food pantry, sees the success of the pantry as a blessing. “The pantry is doing so well, it’s God’s work,” said Sparrow. “No one person is doing this pantry, God is.”
Many hands go into making the pantry a success, ultimately the pantry gives individuals the ability to live, enjoy and unite around a good meal.
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