Established over 20 years ago, The North Coventry Food Pantry is located in the basement of the North Coventry Township Building. Operated by volunteers, the pantry is open on the first Tuesday of every month from 9am to 10am for distribution.
The food pantry was something I was vaguely aware of. Occasionally my kids brought home a note from school that they were collecting food for the local pantry. A friend picked up donations of toilet paper, so I would donate monthly. But still, that is where my involvement ended. The same friend organized a vendor event for the pantry, where local vendors gathered and donated a percentage of their profits to the pantry toward the purchase of a freezer. I set up my massage chair and donated proceeds, but still I didn’t feel connected, until I held my own event for the pantry.
Last fall I offered a free evening of yoga, tea and giveaways, as long as students brought food for the pantry. I was thrilled to see students reach out and bring in full bags of food. I filled my van and met one of the board members at the pantry for the first time. I was excited about the donations from the yogis. But the experience was soon humbling. EVERY donation helps, don’t get me wrong, but the food we collected was a drop in the bucket compared to the need. I immediately felt inspired to help and began volunteering whenever possible. Volunteer opportunities can include pulling food off shelves, sorting food into bags for families, or assisting at the monthly distribution.
I learned that the pantry is run by a small group of volunteers that pour their heart and soul and tremendous amounts of time into helping local families. They receive some shipments from the state, but rely heavily on donations from the community, families, schools, churches and organizations. Some months donations come in, especially before Thanksgiving, and some months the shelves are bare.
Yoga teaches that as we develop spiritually, our awareness and compassion grow, making us more alert to suffering around us and less able to turn away from it. In essence, the pain of others becomes our own, and we feel driven to relieve it.
Find what your heart calls you to do.
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