Woodstock food pantry celebrates 30 years today

Dorothy Ryman, 85, of Woodstock grabs cereal boxes off the shelf of the Bread of Life Food Pantry in Woodstock. The food pantry has been around for 30 years and Ryman has been volunteering the last 22 years. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – The Bread of Life Food Pantry, connected to the United Methodist Church at 156 S. Muhlenberg St.,  celebrates its 30th anniversary at 2 p.m. today with an open house.

Dick Cooley, chief interviewer for the pantry, said the event celebrates the volunteers who have helped over the years. “Many of the volunteers have been here since day one, over 30 years ago,” Cooley said. “We have 60 present and past volunteers and in addition to 24 deceased volunteers,” he explained. “A lot of churches in our community have helped us over the years. We want to celebrate what we’ve accomplished.”

Founded in July 1987 after an informational meeting on hunger in the county, the main goal was to feed the less fortunate by providing them with food items to sustain life. On  Oct. 29, 1987 The Bread of Life Food Pantry opened its doors for the very first time.

Originally the pantry was open one day a month and served 26 families. In cooperation with the Woodstock Presbyterian Church, and 26 other churches in the community, support is provided in the way of volunteers, food donations and financial support.

In 2016 the pantry provided 100 families with nearly 6,000 pounds of food. “They’re happy we can help. That’s really what counts,” Cooley said. The pantry, which is open every third Tuesday and third Thursday of each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., offers one distribution per household per month.

Bill Decker, left, and Duane May, right, both volunteers at the Bread of Life Food Pantry, deliver bagged food items to clients' cars outside Woodstock United Methodist Church during a recent distribution. Rich Cooley/Daily

Refreshments will be provided at the open house. The community is encouraged to stop by and thank many of the volunteers and church officials.