Temecula Pantry continues work despite uncertainty
HUNNEMAN: Temecula Pantry continues work despite uncertainty
November 16, 2013 by John Hunnem asics running shoes an
Emma Alcantar, at left, a volunteer at the pantry, prepares bags of food for clients at the Temecula Community Pantry on Wednesday, September 4, 2013. (FILE PHOTO)
Margie Hammersley rolled through her Rolodex, a cell phone pinned to one ear as the lines blinked on the desk phone in front of her.
“Let me find you that number,” said Hammersley, the long time director of the Temecula Community Pantry, told a woman trying to get help for her family. “You can call them and they will pay your electric bill for a month.”
The light drizzle that fell Friday morning didn’t dampen the number of people lined up for food at the pantry on Pujol Street.
The number of those seeking help is about the s asics running shoes ame as in recent years, Hammersley said. Recipients include the working poor, families where jobs have been lost, the elderly and the homeless.
Donations are currently being accepted for the pantry’s Thanksgiving food baskets to be distributed in the days leading up to the holiday.
“As usual, we need everything,” Hammersley s asics running shoes aid. “We signed up 10 more families just this morning.”
So far 150 local families have signed up for the Thanksgiving baskets. between now and Nov. 27th.
The effort this holiday season goes on under a cloud of uncertainty as Hammersley and the evangelical non profit organization that runs the pantry are waiting to learn if they will soon have to vacate the city owned buildings they rent for $1 a year.
Over the summer Temecula officials terminated the pantry’s current lease and requested proposals from community groups to provide similar services at the location.
About a half dozen groups, including the TEAM Evangelical Assistance Ministries of Rancho California which currently runs the pantry initially submitted proposals.
However half of those groups have since dropped out of the running, said Randy Taylor, president of the evangelical group.
“They discovered their criteria didn’t really match up with what we do here,” Taylor said.
In addition Taylor said his group is now working with the support of Rancho Community Church from Temecula, another of the original asics running shoes applicants to run the pantry.
“We will continue to be an autonomous organization but will be working with the guidance of Rancho Community Church which has a good reputation with the city,” Taylor said.” I think it’s going to be a good partnership.”
Taylor is hopeful this partnership will bode well when a decision is made sometime early next year by Temecula’s City Council on which group will be awarded the building lease.
If not, Hammersley who has managed the food pantry at several Old Town Temecula locations for 25 years said her group will seek another location to continue their mission, which, she added, is often misunderstood by the public and city officials.
“Some people think we are enabling the homeless by being here,” she said “We’re just trying to help those who are already here.”
Volunteers tracking the number of people using pantry services found in the past 6 months 115 homeless individuals have received assistance. Most of the homeless come by for a day or two for food or to get cleaned up before moving on, they told me
“We put about 15 of them on buses and sent them home,” Hammersley said.
A core group of between 20 and 25 homeless people do live in and around the Old Town area and receive some assistance.
“We are truly on the front lines here,” said Taylor as the phones continued to ring and more people came in to sign up for holiday baskets. “And we’re all just trying to do the right thing.”