Thousands of homeless and extremely-low-wealth households from New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties depend on First Fruit Ministries’ Food Pantry for their nutrition every week. They are all welcome to “shop” our pantry every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The Food Pantry is open:
- Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Saturdays from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.
First Fruit Ministries’ Food Pantry asks that the individual or head of household registering uses their phone number as their ID number. Each time they come through the pantry line, they sign in with that phone number.
Through our interactions with the Food Pantry program, we build relationships in ways that go beyond merely providing food. We are invested in low-wealth communities and the hidden community of unsheltered homeless. Our trained volunteers engage with those who are often hesitant to trust and have high barriers to self-sufficiency.
We meet them where they are in every sense and offer pathways to long-term success. Our Food Pantry check-in system reviews household data for eligibility for government benefits programs and refers clients to other food resources for each day of the week.
Our main office staff is dedicated to directing households visiting the pantry to community resources, and we offer and referrals to permanent housing, employment assistance, mental health and substance abuse treatment. Just as important, we offer a listening ear to help determine what type of help is needed and the best way to help our friends receive it.
Our systems, designed to take every interaction with a homeless or low-wealth client toward self-sufficiency, are unique. This holistic approach to care leads families and individuals to stability, independence, and relief.
Thirty-four percent (34%) of First Fruit Ministries’ Food Pantry clients are elderly, many of whom are disabled. As a special outreach to our ministry campus neighborhood, we bring Food Pantry services to widows who are homebound and often neglected. Once a week, First Fruit Ministries delivers boxes of food and visits with 20 elderly shut-ins living near the Vance Street campus. The greatest need these outreach services fill is encouragement, love, and compassion on the least of these, our brothers and sisters (Matthew 25:37-40).
Seven days a week, staff members pick up produce, fruit, meats, pastries, breads, and side dishes from various grocery stores and partner agencies throughout the area. Combined with this, First Fruit Ministries offers food from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), a program that gives pallets of canned and fresh food to be distributed to low-income families. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers the pallets to qualifying organizations, which must collect data on each household getting commodities through the program.
First Fruit Ministries’ Food Pantry is the largest TEFAP redistribution in New Hanover County. In total, over 600,000 lbs. of food are shared through First Fruit Ministries every year. Want to help in the Food Pantry? Please visit our Volunteer page!