It is that time of year when many take stock of life and give thanks. Riverside Presbyterian Church would like to express our appreciation to the greater community for the support we have received from so many of you in our efforts to provide for our neighbors.

In 2017, we opened our Little Food Pantry, a cupboard outside our doors that was stocked with non-perishable foods for anyone who was food insecure. Since then, we have received thanks from moms who can provide better lunches for their school children, senior citizens on small, fixed incomes, who at times need to choose between medicine and food, and those between jobs who have lost their incomes. 

Over the time our Little Food Pantry has been operating, we have seen an uptick in its usage. We have been surprised by the amount of need in our area, and the congregation has had some difficulties keeping the pantry stocked while trying to do something about other hardships locally, nationally, and globally. There have been points in time where we wondered if we would be able to continue to stock the shelves each day.

And then, as word got out about what we were doing, donations from the community started to come in. We give thanks for our community members who have been wonderful about dropping off bags of groceries, including a child from Riverside who asked his birthday party guests to bring food for the pantry instead of presents for himself. 

Groups and individuals have made monetary contributions to help keep the pantry stocked. Donations have made it possible to purchase refrigerators and add fresh produce to our offerings twice a week. We could not have done this on our own. It is hard to express just how much this touches our hearts as you all reach out to touch the lives of people you most likely don’t know.

We often get messages to our Facebook page inquiring about how to donate. We will soon be adding a page to our website for those who would like to be involved, but until then, please feel free to call the church office at 708-447-1520. We are always in need of canned meats like tuna, chicken, ham, and Vienna sausages. Peanut butter is a welcome source of protein, and we often run out of canned fruits. This time of year, soup is especially welcome. 

Monetary donations assure that we can purchase those things that are most in demand, and since we do most of our shopping at Aldi, gift cards to that store are helpful, too.

We look forward to a post-COVID world when we can once again gather to provide community dinners. We hope that many of you will join us for food and fellowship so that we can thank you face to face. 

Until then, please know that your generosity does not go unnoticed. We feel blessed to be part of a community that truly embraces the idea of loving one’s neighbors and is willing to work with us to do so.

With gratitude we wish you peace and love during the holidays and always,

The congregation of Riverside Presbyterian Church