Alabaster FBC Food Pantry serves families in need

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – The Food Ministry of First Baptist Church Alabaster has seen an overwhelming growth recently, and now serves more than 250 families each month throughout Shelby County.

“What started out as a small ministry has now turned into something really big,” said FBC Alabaster Director of Community Ministries Michelle Weaver. “Any resident in Shelby County that shows a financial need, and shows us that they have more bills than what they are bringing in, then we try to help them with food.”

The Food Pantry serves individuals with fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, boxed food items, frozen meats, breads and pastries, as well as toiletry items at the organization’s location at 923 Third Ave. NW.

Weaver said families can come the second and fourth Monday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

As the holiday season approaches, Weaver said the Food Pantry will likely see an increase of individuals in need.

“Right now at this time of year we typically see families that have lost their job, or their hours at their job have been cut, and they have a sick child, so one of the parents has to take a leave of absence, and they don’t have enough money for food,” Weaver said. “We also see a lot of individuals that have to pay their heating bills because it is cold outside and because they have to pay that, they don’t have enough money for food.”

The FBC food ministry first began more than 20 years ago, but Weaver officially took over more than nine years ago, as the ministry has grown throughout the years. She has four individuals that work alongside her on a regular basis and a host of more than 30 volunteers that help as-needed when the Food Pantry is open each week.

“We are always needing more volunteers, so we would love to have people from the community come out if they are interested,” Weaver said.

Donations for food items are also accepted from the community, and anyone interested can drop of non-perishable food items at the church office during regular hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.mm. Until 3 p.m. on Fridays.

Weaver said there is a box that is labeled “food donations” inside the church, and individuals can drop off items at the box.

Some of the popular foods that are a constant need include peanut butter and jelly, and cereal.

“We are always giving those items out, because that is what keeps the kids going,” Weaver said.

Recently, due to an increase in individuals at the Food Pantry, Weaver decided to expand the wheelchair ramp and build a covered deck so those visiting the Food Pantry would have more room and be protected from weather conditions.

“We realized that this project was likely going to cost us around $3,500 to $4,000, so we started contacting businesses to see if they would be interested in donating,” Weaver said.

CK Renovations donated labor and $500 worth of materials, Five Star Lumber donated $250 worth of materials, and AA Metal agreed to donate the entire roof for the project.

“We were so overjoyed that so many people agreed to help,” Weaver said. “We hope to have the extended deck and larger wheelchair ramp within the next week or two.”

Weaver said families that visit the Food Pantry the first time are given free-food without any questions asked.

“The first time we don’t turn anyone away, the second time they come we have to follow guidelines, which require families to fill out some forms and answer some questions,” Weaver said. “We are a church and God gave us this ministry so we are thankful to be able to help those in need.”

For more information about the ministry, or to schedule an appointment, call Weaver at (205) 222-6809.