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Hometown Pride Winner: Panama Presbyterian Food Distribution

Their goal is simple — to provide nutritious food, free of charge, to people in need. And this is just one of the reasons Panama Presbyterian Food Distribution was picked as a Hometown Pride winner.

Panama Presbyterian Church has been distributing food through this program to people living at or below the poverty line within their community and surrounding communities for over 15 years. “It’s inspiring to treat everyone with dignity and respect and to see how they respond to just a little kindness,” said volunteer leader Kathy Harrop.

The work of Panama Presbyterian Food Distribution is made possible through donations from the Panama Presbyterian Church, the Food Bank of Lincoln, and the USDA. “Our access to food relies on donations from commercial vendors as well as individuals through the Food Bank of Lincoln,” said Kathy. “However, food would never make it to the people we serve without the help of our volunteers and leadership teams who donate their time and wholeheartedly believe in the mission.”

Each monthly distribution event is organized, set up and cleaned up by volunteers. “Every person involved is caring, helpful, organized, and committed. The faithfulness of everyone to help and serve is very inspiring,” said Kathy.

While things run smoothly most months, there have times when extra supports was needed to fill in the gaps. Kathy remembers, “One time when we had no meat, someone made a quick call to Farmland in Crete which resulted in 50 hams unloaded and delivered to our site, free of charge.”

Every month, Panama Presbyterian Food Distribution moves upwards of two tons of food to 35-55 households to supplement their food supply with items like canned goods, frozen meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dried goods.

“There have been so many times at food distributions when people have looked at volunteers in the eyes, thanking them for helping get them through the month,” said Kathy. “Seeing children come in with guardians and seeing the excitement from the food is both inspiring, and at times heartbreaking.”

Every step of the food distribution process is meant to be intentional and genuine, for everyone involved. “We uphold our volunteers as people having an opportunity to grow in the spirit of special connection and responsibility to our community by serving,” said Kathy.

Panama Presbyterian Food Distribution plans to use their Hometown Pride $500 award to supplement future food purchases and to buy carts to help transport food from the church to cars.

If you, or someone you know, are elderly, have children living in your household or are having a hard time making ends meet because you live at or below the poverty line, you are welcome to come shop for free food at Panama Presbyterian Church on the third Thursday of each month at 4pm.

Volunteers are also welcome to join us in our efforts to provide nutritious food, free of charge, to people in need. If interested, please reach out to the church, and ask for Kathy Harrop to get involved.

Want to have your local organization featured as a Hometown Pride winner? Fill out the form on this page to get started.