It was Memorial Day, a day that many people gather to honor the purpose of the holiday.  Many of us gather to enjoy togetherness, time away from work, and cookouts that mark the beginning of summer.  One thing is certain, whenever folks are grilling there’s bound to be lots of food.

I stopped into my office at GRACE for a bit that evening.  Little did I know God had loftier things in store for me than what I intended as just a quick stop by the office.  On my way out, I noticed someone at our Take One Leave One Pantry.  The Take One Leave One Pantry is located in front of our Food Pantry at GRACE Main Campus.  Anyone is able to drop by at any time to either give or take nonperishable food items.

This particular evening, it was a young boy, about 8 years old, who sought out our little pantry in search of macaroni and cheese.  I approached the boy to greet him and see if he needed any help.  Obviously timid upon my approach, he told me, “My mom said to come and see if there was any macaroni and cheese for our dinner tonight.”  Not seeing any in the box, I kindly told him to wait there for a moment as I went in search of a few boxes of his treasured mac and cheese inside The Food Pantry.

I returned to him with the supply to load into his backpack.  As he unzipped his bag, there I saw his other supplies – a baby bottle and several diapers.  The young boy had already mentioned his mother asked that he run this errand to our little pantry in hopes of finding any food to serve as their dinner.  It was then that I understood the bigger picture of this encounter and had a small window into this boy’s family and his home.

I saw the reality of a mother with a little baby and a little boy and no food to feed them.  A mother desperate to feed her hungry children, desperate enough to send her son out in search of food.  A hungry boy determined to help his family by seeking whatever he could find to bring back for dinner.  Just a small boy with a bicycle and a backpack.

With the diapers and bottle shedding light on the severity of the situation, I again asked the boy to wait as I returned to The Pantry to gather further essentials for his family.  Again I returned to help him pack the items, and then watched as he rode away toting his backpack nearly twice his size.

My heart ached as I stood there, wishing I could do more – give him more, help him get home, visit his struggling family, let them know that people love them and care about their well-being.  But, as a stranger to this boy, I knew I could only watch him ride away and pray for their precarious situation.

That evening, I looked right into the face of food insecurity and hunger that is present in our community.  I attempted to imagine the sad truth that afflicts this family, but I know this truth is only fully understood by those that have lived it.  And far too many do, right here in our very own beloved city and neighborhoods.  Hunger is truly an epidemic, and right here, right now is the place and time to make a difference.

This is only one story.  I wish I could tell you all the stories.  In this economy so many people are struggling just to keep their heads above water.  And because of you, we are able to supply food to those who cannot do it for themselves for one reason or another.

We are thankful for all donations, from the one bag of food given by an individual to the car and truckloads of food donated by businesses and churches; to food collected by many organizations, clubs, and schools; to the harvest from our Community Garden that you help work and tend.

Our Food Pantry strives to meet the ever growing need of those in our community that are experiencing difficult times and each act of kindness touches someone’s life.  Summer is always a challenging time in keeping The Pantry well stocked.  Many people and organizations have been incredibly generous throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, which allows us to stock-up on Pantry reserves, and for this we are profoundly grateful.  But food supplies are now dangerously low.

In the midst of this emergency, please remember the Red Alert at GRACE Food Pantry.  We are continually amazed at the ways in which our GRACE Family answers each time we reach out for help.  Every volunteer hour worked, every can of food, each and every act of kindness you share with our community absolutely makes a difference!

I am available to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call me at (817) 305-4650, or email me at

Thank you in advance for all you do!

In His Service,
Shonda Schaefer

Click here to view our updated Pantry needs list.

Click here to make a monetary contribution.

If you would like to get involved, please feel free to drop off your donations directly at the Food Pantry and the Take One Leave One Pantry at 837 E. Walnut St. or 610 Shady Brooke Dr. Items for the Take One Leave One Pantry should be non-perishable, preferably single-serve, easy to open and self-contained items. Good examples of this are fruit cups, protein bars, single packets of tuna, cans that have openers included.  For more information please contact our Development and Volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Armand.