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Community Cooperative providing food at Pine Island United Methodist Church drive-thru

By Staff | Sep 2, 2020

Volunteers prepare food for distribution at Pine Island United Methodist Church. PHOTO PROVIDED BY JIM MCLAUGHLIN


On the third Friday of each month, Community Cooperative sends a mobile unit to Pine Island United Methodist Church where food is handed out in a drive-thru. This began back in March, said Ernestine Holloway Squires, who gets local volunteers together each month to give the food out to the community, and said it will continue as long as Community Cooperative is able to provide food.

“This time,” said Holloway, “I asked the PILOT kids. It’s a collaborative effort for all of us and I wanted the kids involved. This is a wonderful thing for our island. Everyone is invited to come and get food … it’s there for them.”

While nothing is required from anyone for a food pickup, and no one is keeping track of who comes in and out, Holloway said they do count the number of cars driving through in order to let Community Cooperative know how many families were taken care of.

Although not everyone would consider themselves “needy.” she points out that everyone has needs at one time or another and would like to encourage the whole island to partake of the generous food donation.

What started to be a one-time mobile food pantry has become so much more, according to Food4Kidz program coordinator Beverly Brewer.

“Obviously we were happy to have them do that,” said Brewer, speaking of Community Cooperative’s offer to provide help to Pine Island. “we already delivered bags to people once a week but we knew there were people who would come to a mobile food pantry who wouldn’t ask us for help.”

After coming out on a few different occasions, Brewer said Community Cooperative offered to place the island on a regular delivery schedule, which would take place once a month.

“They set us up every third Friday from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.,” said Brewer. “It’s an absolutely amazing program. They bring everything in the trucks, they set it all up and we provide as many volunteers as we can from the people on the island.”

Brewer said in addition to all the efforts Com-munity Cooperative provides, they also send some of their own volunteers with the food trucks. She explained that the cars are lined up as they come in, which she has seen happen as early as 8:30 a.m. At that point, Brewer said they open their trunks or the back of the cars and volunteers begin loading the food, then shut the doors and wave them off.

“It goes like clockwork, they’ve really got an efficient system,” said Brewer, who added they bring a wide variety of food, including frozen meats, cereal, snacks and even fresh fruits and vegetables. “There’s a really nice assortment. When you pull away from there you have a lot of food.”

Brewer said although there are no requirements for one family, if anyone is picking up for two different families, two sets of identification are requested, in an attempt to prevent food allocated for two families from going to only one address. Other than that, Brewer explains no additional information is needed.

If anyone needs additional food immediately, please call Brewer 765-404-3835.

If anyone is interested in volunteering to pass out food, please contact Ernestine Holloway 239-281-8225.