By Tammy Moore Teague
Members of the community, local businesses and churches saw a need in Southern Sebastian County and decided, that together, they could make a difference. That’s how Mines of Abundance Food Pantry in Hartford got its start. The Pantry is currently assisting over 93 families in the area, providing them with supplemental nutritional assistance. Those numbers, however, are on the rise.
The ministry’s mission is scripture based, “The Mines of Abundance has been established as a community resource for families in need. We strive to serve those who need served, feed those who need nourishment and clothe those that need clothed. Through our ministry, we provide hope to those who need encouragement. Matthew 25:35-36”
The city donated its former municipal building, located at 26 S. Broadway, for the Pantry to utilize free of charge. Non profit status and administrative assistance are provided by Faith Chapel. They, along with other local churches, provide financial support through love offerings and monthly donations. Additionally, churches and community members have donated dollies, vehicles to transport food, clothing and money. Lastly, grants has allowed the Pantry to purchase freezers, shelving and other items required for food storage and distribution.
As a member of the Arkansas Food Alliance and the River Valley Food Bank, Mines of Abundance Pantry director, Christina Helms is able to shop for and purchase foods at a significantly discounted price, resulting in more pounds of food per dollar spent.
The Pantry is open on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 12-4 p.m. The distribution system is designed to mimic shopping at the grocery store. Point values are assigned to each food item and families are allowed points based on household size. “We chose to operate this way because it allows the patrons to have more flexibility in choosing the food for their family,” said Helms. Since opening in March, the Pantry has distributed over 8,300 pounds of food.
Mines of Abundance Food Pantry also accepts item donations, including household goods, outdoor use items, bedding and limited furniture items. Biannually, items are offered for sale at the citywide yard sale, and all funds generated are used to purchase food for the Pantry.
Lastly, it offers a Children’s Clothes Closet, available for ages newborn-5 years. Equipment and toys are available to buy at “yard sale” prices. The Clothes Closet is open on the days of food distribution. “All families face times of dire need and need special consideration, said Helms. “We will provide items in the Children’s Closet at no cost to those families. If this applies to you, we will set aside a time for a private discussion and decide how the Pantry can meet the individual’s needs.” Items that are for sale in the Children’s Closet are posted for sale on their Facebook page. Adult clothing is available also, and is provided upon request.
The Pantry needs sustained financial support to fulfill its mission and provide the food needed by so many families in the local communities. As the Pantry expands to meet the growing need, additional resources will be required to provide the basic food supplementation to those in the community that are struggling with food security. “We need your financial support,” said Helms. “Any amount of love offering or monthly sustained donation would be used solely to purchase food at the Food Bank, which allows the Pantry to serve as many families as possible.”
If you have questions about this ministry you can contact the Pantry by text at 479-849-5415. Additionally, if you wish to set up a monthly pledge or one time donation, you can do so by mailing it to: Mines of Abundance Food Pantry, P.O. Box 192, Hartford, AR 72938.