In today's economy, a simple trip to the grocery store can leave one feeling financially overwhelmed and depressed.
Increasing prices and smaller product packaging don't ease that pain, leaving many looking for alternative ways to feed their family and make ends meet.
That's why Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church of Chickamauga is trying to get the word out about One Harvest Food Ministries, an ongoing program from which everyone can benefit. There are no applications, income restrictions, age limits and no limit to the amount of food that can be purchased.
The church provides the place for food distribution, volunteers and helps individuals get home with the food they've purchased.
"We see this as an outreach of the church to our neighbors in need," Elizabeth Lee pastor Rick Maeser said. "We know if one person is being helped then we are doing something to help in God's name, and that's what motivates us."
Every month a new menu is available that allows customers to order different size food boxes and special items. The items change each month but are the same quantity and quality, according to Elizabeth Lee member Janice Gallaher, who manages the One Harvest operation at her church. All food is prepackaged, freshly frozen and of high quality, she said. According to the One Harvest website, the food purchased is from premium growers across the United States and direct from manufacturers of national brands.
Prices for the prepackaged boxes range from $20 to $46. Gallaher said the most popular options are the family box, ideal for a family of four, which sells for $35, and the summer grill box, which sells for $41.
Orders are distributed once a month on a Saturday morning at Elizabeth Lee.
The next date of distribution is July 28 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. The deadline to order is July 20.
Gallaher said each month Elizabeth Lee orders three to four extra boxes of food to give away to members of the community in need.
"Sometimes we see both the husband and wife who have lost their job, someone who is disabled or has not received their benefits or food stamps yet," she said. "There's probably more of a need than we're aware of. It's hard for people to ask for help after they've worked their whole life. We want people to know anyone can order."
Those interested in purchasing prepackaged food boxes or in need of food assistance can contact Elizabeth Lee United Methodist Church at 706-375-2182 or visit 139 Cove Road, Chickamauga.
Menus, pricing and more information on One Harvest can be found at oneharvest.com.