History and Background
The St. Mary’s Choice Food Pantry started with four members from the St. Mary’s congregation. The founding members had just completed the Just Faith process, a program that encourages participants to become agents of God’s compassion by serving those in need. Through a discernment process, the group realized that they didn’t have to look very far to find a worthy cause, as the surrounding low income neighborhoods were full of people struggling to make ends meet. The group immediately set out to find a way to ease some of their neighbors’ burdens and the idea for the St. Mary’s Choice Food Pantry was born.
In the planning stages, it was very important to the founders that the food pantry help ALL who ask, not just members of the congregation. They used the motto:
“The pantry does not feed only those who ARE Catholic, but helps others because WE are Catholic”
It was also crucial that guests to the pantry get the resources that they truly needed and that help was given with love and respect. To that end, the pantry was designed to be Lorain’s first CHOICE food pantry. In lieu of being given a pre-selected bag of groceries, each guest would get to ‘shop’ from the food pantry’s shelves, ensuring they would receive items that they would actually use.
The St Mary Choice Food Pantry opened its doors in November 2005 to 50 families and grew rapidly to serve approximately 350 families or close to 1100 individuals each month.
In 2008 a group of five women, also recent participants in Just Faith and volunteers at the food pantry, noticed that many of the families that were coming to shop at the food pantry were showing up very hungry. It was through their compassion and love for the hungry that Faith Feeders Hot Meal Program was born. Faith Feeders offers each guest of the pantry a hot meal to enjoy before they enter the pantry so that they are well fed while they are our guests.
MISSION: To gather and share food and essential non food items with our neighbors in need to try to end the cycle of hunger.
- We hold ourselves accountable for the most efficient and most effective use of our resources, realizing that these resources have been placed
in our care, and are ours to administer, because of the generosity of others.
- We will recognize and value the diversity among those we serve. We will seek to understand the needs of individuals and of organizations,
and remain flexible when determining how best to meet those needs.
- We promise to recognize the right of all human beings to be treated with dignity and respect, and we will seek the
good will of the community and of those we serve.