Soddy-Daisy First Baptist Church is taking over the Good Shepherd Ministry Food Bank this spring.
"The Good Shepherd Ministry that started in Soddy-Daisy has been in this area for 20 years," said Good Shepherd Food Bank Director Frank Conger, adding that the ministry recently closed its doors. "At Soddy-Daisy First Baptist Church, we will just operate a food bank. We will not have clothes or furniture like the former Good Shepherd Ministry."
He said clients can come in once per month to receive a box full of food.
"We serve anyone that comes in, qualifies and needs food," said Conger, noting that the food bank goes by an income eligibility scale. "We've had people from Spring City, Dunlap, Evensville and Harrison. We also serve clients in North Hamilton County too."
New clients are welcome to stop by and fill out paperwork to get enrolled.
Conger said volunteers fill boxes with spaghetti pasta and sauce, peaches, potatoes, green beans, diced tomatoes, pitted plums, Cheerios, peanut butter, canned soup, vegetables, chicken, beans, tuna, beef stew, crackers, oatmeal and macaroni and cheese.
"In most cases cash contributions help us go far, because we can buy food cheaper than at the store," said Good Shepherd Food Bank volunteer Dennis Haupert. "We bought a case of Cheerios for $1.38. You can buy a case for what a box costs at the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. We take donations to buy food."
USDA food can only be picked up once per month. However, the food the volunteers buy with contributions can be picked up by clients more often if they need it.
"We want to see that food is distributed to people in North Hamilton County," said Good Shepherd Food Bank volunteer Wayne Everett. "The church has the means to help others as needed on a weekly basis. Being church-based, we also invite them to attend church services here if they don't have a church home. As a church our mission is to feed the spirit as well as the body."
Everett said he wants all clients to feel welcome at Soddy-Daisy First Baptist Church.
Soddy-Daisy's Lisa Smith and her daughter Ashley Higgins stopped by the Good Shepherd Food Bank recently for a food box.
"I really do appreciate the help," said Smith. "I've lived in Soddy-Daisy all my life. I graduated from Soddy-Daisy High School. I am disabled due to my osteoarthritis, so I hurt on cold days."
Smith takes care of her daughter, 19, who suffers from dementia but through speech therapy has learned to speak using sign language. Higgins signed to Good Shepherd Food Bank volunteers "Thank you" and "Time to eat" while there to pick up food.