By CHRIS AGEE
A recognition service held Friday at First Christian Church honored those who help make its food pantry ministry possible.
The event began with remarks from the Tarrant Area Food Bank, which partnered with the local pantry to feed 5,326 people last year.
Jeanette Scott, TAFB's agency relations coordinator, said she has noticed a marked increase in the church's ability to reach those in need.
"I came here for the first time maybe two years ago," she said, "and things keep progressing and changing."
She explained how the TAFB, one of 19 food banks in the state, is a subsidiary of the nationwide initiative Feeding America.
The regional food bank partners with retailers such as Walmart and various food manufacturers to serve 13 counties, including Palo Pinto County.
The TAFB also visits local food pantries to make sure they meet standards set by the agency.
Scott applauded the work of FCC's food pantry organizer, Genie Quincy, and the many volunteers who help operate the pantry.
"Mineral Wells has such a great pantry here – full of wonderful people," she said.
She explained the local pantry embodies the overall mission of treating all clients as equals and showing them love and kindness.
"You never know when you're going to need help," she said.
Through its partnership with the TAFB, Scott said the local pantry is able to offer much more nutritious food than in years past.
"I'm proud of the types of food we get and that we can offer it to you to offer it to your community," she said.
Quincy spoke next, thanking the crowd for their unique contributions to the food pantry.
"Mineral Wells, Texas, is an amazing place," she said. "This place is full of caring hearts."
In operating the food pantry, she said, "We put aside our doctrinal differences and stand as one body."
She recognized those responsible for establishing the food pantry and the gifts of time and resources that have helped it grow to a ministry reaching throughout the community.
Those entering the food pantry are treated "as Christ walking through the door," Quincy said. "We tell people we are not the police, we are not immigration, and we are not DPS."
While prayer is a part of the experience, no one is forced to participate – or have any religious belief – to receive food and fellowship.
"They are loved just the way they are," she said.
Quincy again thanked those in attendance for their dedication to the food pantry and led them on a tour followed by a luncheon.