Tony G., a Successful Graduate of The 24 and Tillman House, and Blayne T., Tillman House Resident, spend the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tuesdays of every month volunteering at Emanuel Community Center. Just a short walk from both The 24 and Tillman House, Emanuel Community Center is an opportunity for Residents to be of service and get out of self.
"I was told to be of service when I came to The 24. During my first House Meeting, the Program Managers mentioned Emanuel Community Center, so I started helping out there. I was given an opportunity to be of service and help me get out of self, which helps me stay sober." said Tony G., volunteer with Emanuel Community Center since November 2019.
For decades, Emanuel Community Center's mindset has always been to serve the community, especially its immediate neighborhood, so in 1974, community and church members launched the Food Pantry.
Roughly 55 families come monthly to Emanuel Community Center to get groceries for the next month. When they arrive at the back of the church on their scheduled pickup date, Maria Cox, a volunteer, checks in the family, then another volunteer shops for food based on how many members are in the family. Shoppers are always given meat, carton(s) of eggs, rice, and beans - staples to be able to cook dinner. Snacks are available for families with children and PAN boxes (USDA supplemental food assistance program) are available for families with individuals over 60 years of age.
"Crossroads Community Services gives us free fruits and vegetables, then we purchase other foods like canned items, dry goods, eggs, and meat. We use donations from the community and the church to purchase those other items." - said Michelle Gonzales, Food Pantry Director.
In addition to providing groceries for families, Emanuel Community Center also provides food to the homeless in the front of the church on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tuesdays at 10:00 am. Over the years, many of The 24’s Residents have volunteered at Emanuel Community Center with the Food Pantry. It’s an opportunity for them to help those who are in similar situations since many of the Residents have been homeless at some point in their lives. For them to be on the other side and give back is a gift. There is a common understanding.
“My sponsor made me start volunteering at Emanuel Community Center. First, I showed up then it progressed to me rounding up people to come help. Now, I wake up with excitement and joy about coming up to the church.” Blayne T., volunteer with Emanuel Lutheran Church since May 2021.