Twice a week, Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry volunteers open their hearts to help those in need.
Conveniently located at 602 N. Main St. in Pleasanton, the non-profit organization distributes food items to customers every Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Currently, the pantry is open indoors, allowing customers to “shop around” in the rooms.
The way it works is that customers are asked to line up on Adams Street next to the building. You will be directed to a parking spot when it is your turn to enter and shop.
Volunteers help clients fill out some paperwork. There are guidelines from the San Antonio Food Bank, based on household size and income. However, if this is someone’s first visit to the pantry, they can shop regardless.
Last Monday, Beth Gossett, who runs Bountiful Blessings, gave a tour of the building. Customers may receive items such as canned fruits, canned meats and soups.
Customers may also receive baked goods, a grain product, pasta, and if they have children, items like granola bars. There are also snacks to choose from.
Bountiful Blessings purchases food from the San Antonio Food Bank at a reduced rate, which delivers approximately once a month.
The food pantry has been fortunate to receive donations from individuals, local churches and schools who have organized food drives. Some of the newer ones include Saint-Luc Catholic Church in the Loire, Pleasanton ISD and Poteet ISD.
“They’ve really helped us fill our various shelves, so that’s really important,” Gossett said. “We are really counting on it. Also, people will just stop by with a case of water, a case of peanut butter, so that’s so helpful.
Generally, the pantry receives fruit juice from the food bank. However, recently they have not been able to do this. “So we’re running out of juice a lot, but normally they’re getting juice,” Gossett said. “We had to put hot chocolate in here to kind of fill the void.”
In another room, customers can collect non-food items such as soaps, hand sanitizer, blankets, household cleaners and sanitary wipes.
The shopping journey continues, where customers can choose their choice of meat and their choice of cake. In one area is a variety of products offered by the Granzin meat market, alongside a table of tortillas and baked goods offered by HEB.
“So people who buy personally, they just hang on to the cart and we just fill their baskets and then they take it to the car,” Gossett said. “So it’s like a shopping experience.”
She added: “It’s been going well since the new year. We’re just starting with new papers now. We’re always really busy.
With inflation and so many families struggling to make ends meet, Bountiful Blessings is seeing an increase in its client base.
“It kind of dropped off for a while. I think everyone was getting their checks and things were getting better in the world, but now it’s kind of picked up again,” Gossett said.
Volunteers are seeing an increase in the number of families and the size of families. Sometimes families move in together.
List of current needs
In addition to juice, the specific items Bountiful Blessings currently needs are: canned meats, soups, fruits, and cereals. Gossett reminds the public that he also accepts deer meat that has been processed and packaged. Ramen noodles are another product that customers love.
Once a month is the Senior Commodities program for those who are already enrolled. Interested persons can put their name on the waiting list so that they can be added as soon as registration reopens. This program is still offered at First United Methodist Church in Pleasanton, just down the street.
Bountiful Blessings is looking for volunteers of all ages (16+) to help both outside and inside the pantry. If you’re interested in helping out, stop by during business hours and they’ll find a job for you.
Volunteer John Ulbricht, who is also a project director at Atascosa Health Center Inc., explained why he loves volunteering at the food pantry.
“It’s a blessing to be here,” Ulbricht said. “There are so many people in our community who are in need. People don’t recognize the large homeless population we have in Pleasanton. Beth Gossett started this mission 20 years ago and we are now in this great building. It’s like a grocery store with canned goods and dry goods.
He added that all volunteers find it a blessing to be able to serve others.
Gossett is grateful to its volunteers and donors.
“The community has just done a great job of supporting us and we certainly appreciate that. And the food drives, they kind of kept us going. It seems like every time we think, ‘Oh, let’s -U.S ?’ someone comes in with a food drive or comes to the door with food. So it’s always been a real blessing,” Gossett said. “It’s God’s work. It’s amazing.”
She also expressed the importance of helping each other and why she loves being part of Bountiful Blessings.
“It’s about caring for your neighbor and loving your community and your extended family. Everyone lives here. So if they need help, we’re here for it. I like doing it. I love when someone leaves happy and satisfied.
OTHER LOCAL FOOD DISTRIBUTION AND PANTRY EVENTS:
•Mega-distribution this Saturday January 15 on the grounds of the Poteet Strawberry Festival. Starts at 10 a.m. until all items are distributed. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. Visit safoodbank.org online and select Atascosa County. We kindly encourage customers to take advantage of this food drive, so it doesn’t get moved to another location.
• Jourdanton First Baptist Church will hold the next drive-through pantry on Friday January 21st. Distribution begins at 8:30 a.m. until all products are distributed. Call 830-769-3552 for details.
• Charlotte’s Pantry is a take-out pantry at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
• Hosanna Baptist Church in Poteet, 9 am to 11 am. Open the first and third Thursday of each month.
• Pleasanton Church of Christ, 1003 N. Main St. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed for lunch. Non-perishable food products. Need ID and current address. It is recommended to call ahead, 830-281-5511.
• For more details on the First Baptist Church of Poteet Food Pantry, please contact Stephanie Cantu at 210-632-8018.