Asbury UMC adds Saturday curbside pickup option to food pantry

Published 11:28 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

NORTH SHELBY – A ministry Asbury United Methodist Church started more than a decade ago to help those facing food insecurity has expanded its reach, especially with a recent change.

In early April, the church announced its food pantry would have a curbside pickup option on Saturdays, in addition to continuing to serve patrons every Wednesday afternoon.

On Saturday, April 6, Asbury’s Food Pantry held its first curbside food pickup day, allowing 37 individuals facing food insecurity to receive free groceries.

“Some of our clients who work during the day but rely on the food pantry told us they were having trouble getting to Asbury during the week,” Food Pantry volunteer Melissa Franklin wrote in a press release. “So, we wanted to meet them where they are. This is about food, certainly, but it’s also about relationships—we’re here for them, we’re praying for them and we want to be involved in their lives.”

Now, those in need of groceries may come to Asbury’s Food Pantry on Wednesdays from 2-3:30 p.m. or the first Saturday of the month from 12:30-2 p.m.

In April, the food pantry helped 13 families (about 40 people), and in May, it helped 11 families (about 35 people), according to church staff.

The food pantry opened in the summer of 2011 with limited food choices and pre-packed bags. Nearly 13 years later, on a typical Wednesday, an average of 45 individuals receive 25 or more grocery items from a wide variety of choices, and they are able to do their own shopping.

Asbury’s Food Pantry is open every Wednesday except for Thanksgiving Eve and is only closed during inclement weather, according to Food Pantry Director Irene O’Neill.

Last year, nearly 740 bags of food were distributed to 297 families, each ranging from 1-10 people.

The food pantry is solely operated through monetary donations and funds allocated by Asbury’s Missions in Action program, a program the church’s founding members and clergy formed to support Birmingham and its community partners, including Urban Ministry, Grace Klein Community and Church of the Reconciler.

Food donations for Asbury’s Food Pantry are also provided by the church’s members and community groups that have food drives.

Anyone who would like to donate nonperishable food items (preferably regular-sized instead of family-sized items, and not expired) may drop them off outside the pantry doors between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Items also may be brought to the church on Sunday mornings.

Families or individuals interested in volunteering at the food pantry may drop in on Wednesdays from 2-3:30 p.m. or sign up for a Saturday shift at

More information about the food pantry and other ministries Asbury supports can be found at