Caring Hands’ mission to mobilize compassion towards our neighbors in eastern Polk County is driven by the firm belief that everyone matters. The heart of our ministry is compelled by Christ’s heart for people. This guiding principle of ministry means we want every person in need to receive help. Over the last few years, some myths and misconceptions have circulated about food pantries. In this article, we are going to bust some myths which serve as barriers to families from reaching out to receive help.
Myth: You must be unemployed to get help
Food insecurity is not just a problem for the unemployed. 2021 showed roughly 13% of Americans, around 42 million people, experienced food insecurity that year despite an unemployment rate ranging between 5-6%. These frightening numbers show that food insecurity is a problem for both the employed and the unemployed.
Fully employed, underemployed, unemployed, and retired people are all welcome at Caring Hands Food Pantries.
Myth: You need to provide proof of income
Most food pantries set their own qualifications for who is eligible to receive help. While many think a proof of income is necessary, at Caring Hands, proof of income is not a requirement. If you’re hungry and need food, please come see us.
Myth: Pantry food is low-quality food
Caring Hands believes that families should receive quality and not just quantity. We ensure that families are provided with the food they need, but we also have high standards. This is made possible through generous donors who want to provide families with the best possible food. This includes many name-brand products, real milk, eggs, butter, fresh vegetables and fruit, and items essential for a nutritious diet.
Despite recent food shortages and rising prices, Caring Hands works hard to ensure we are still properly stocked with the items necessary to provide families with high-quality meals. If you are considering donating to Caring Hands to equip us in our ministry, we ask you to keep in mind our most essential and commonly needed items necessary for families in need.
Myth: Receiving help is always a long-term commitment
As our neighbors face unexpected financial burdens, rising food prices, and inflation, some families may not seek help because they don't think one-time help is offered by most food pantries. This could not be further from the truth! Caring Hands receives many one-time visitors and we are ready to help!
Our Uplift Program is designed to offer limited help with a plethora of short-term financial challenges such as clothing, utilities, rent, or household items.
We understand that people need help for a variety of reasons. This includes people who need monthly assistance and people who have more immediate needs. Our ministry is designed to meet the unique circumstances of the eastern Polk County community including both short-term and long-term needs.
Myth: I am going to be judged by the pantry workers
Nothing could be further from the truth. Our volunteers and employees are at Caring Hands because it’s their heart’s desire to be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need. We don’t judge anyone for asking for help. In fact, some of our volunteers have been food insecure and visited our pantry. Truly, we don’t want anyone to be hungry. And we don’t ask for your life story. We just want to help.
As we dispel these common myths surrounding food pantries, we pray that families who need help would be unafraid and unashamed to receive it. If one of these myths has stopped you from receiving the help you need, we hope you know that Caring Hands is ready to meet you where you are and help as best we can! In the end, our goal is to love without limits as Christ has loved us.