Lazarus Food Pantry Serves Neighbors through Resourceful Ingenuity

Jun 16, 2021 | Stories from the Diocese

Since the Lazarus Food Pantry at Christ Church, Alexandria, first opened, it has evolved in many ways to meet the changing needs of the church’s neighbors. In early March of 2020, it became clear that their usual pantry, where guests came inside and self-selected the items they needed, was no longer viable. Because of safety concerns for guests and volunteers, they made the difficult decision to close their doors and refer guests instead to other food pantries in the community, not knowing when they would reopen.

Eventually the Lazarus Emergency Financial Ministry, which remained open throughout the pandemic, noticed more and more clients experiencing food insecurity. Many guests had large families to feed and what they were able to get from other pantries simply was not enough to last them the week. Other guests could not make it to food pantries or drive-up food giveaways at all, because either they had no transportation or their family circumstances did not allow them to retrieve groceries.

The Lazarus Food Pantry set out to evolve once more to fill this gap. They began making contact-free deliveries of groceries and gift cards on May 1, 2020. Since that time, volunteers have made more than 733 deliveries, serving 2,377 individuals. They have spent over $25,000 on grocery gift cards, food, and household essentials like dish soap and toilet paper.

The guests being served by the Lazarus Food Pantry today are, for the most part, not the same people they saw each week before the pandemic. Many are new to Lazarus and have never needed assistance before. While fresh produce, meat and dairy products remain sought-after requests, household items and cleaning supplies are in high demand as well, and parents are requesting snacks and easy lunches for their kids who are doing school from home. The Lazarus Food Pantry continues to adjust their offerings to better serve their changing population and its varying needs.