From staff reports
Working to reduce hunger in Ennis, Texas and the surrounding area, Catholic Charities Dallas, North Texas Food Bank, and St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church officially opened the new St. John’s Community Pantry this Dec. 7. Supported and primarily made possible by significant private donations, the pantry is expected to provide 350,000 meals to more than 450 families in the first year of operation.
The pantry, housed in a fixed yet non-permanent, refrigerated container, is a new concept and the first of its kind in North Texas. The “Client Choice” pantry allows people to select from dry goods, perishable groceries, fruits, and vegetables.
“This new style food pantry provides the best level of service, respect, and effectiveness for clients who personally select items needed, ensuring the best chance to meet their dietary needs and personal tastes,” said Dave Woodyard, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Dallas.
“No zip code in North Texas is immune from hunger, and this is especially true in specific areas of the NTFB’s service area,” said Trisha Cunningham, president and CEO of North Texas Food Bank.
In Ellis County, where the pantry is located, there are more than 20,000 food-insecure neighbors.
“This is unacceptable, especially given the additional barriers that rural community members face in terms of accessing nutritious foods,” Cunningham said. “We are honored to partner with Catholic Charities Dallas on this effort; they are longstanding and innovative partners, and this pantry is already having a positive impact on the surrounding area.”
Woodyard echoed those sentiments, noting the effective partnership between the two agencies and welcoming a growing, future partnership with community leaders in Ennis.
“It was an honor to meet the mayor [Angeline Juenemann] today and to understand that Ennis is interested in continuing a collaborative partnership moving forward to help those in need,” said Woodyard, adding that Catholic Charities looked forward to learning more about the community center the city of Ennis has coming on board as well as continuing to collaborate in ways to help those “who have less, but need more.”
The St. John’s Community Pantry is located at 401E. Lampasas St. in Ennis, situated in the parking lot next to St. John’s Catholic Church. The pantry is open to clients Tuesday through Saturday, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Families can call 469-799-4001 to schedule their own appointment, or walk-ups are welcome.
The pantry is being staffed by three full-time Catholic Charities Dallas employees and supported, organized, and led by Catholic Charities recruits and trained volunteers from St. John’s Nepomucene and the community.
For volunteer opportunities, contact volunteer manager Kelsey Stanley by email at email@example.com or sign up directly at ccdallas.volunteerhub.com/lp/enniscontainerpantry/.