About 150 families in the Eclectic community received fresh fruit and produce during the Mobile Food Pantry event held on Monday, March 29, in the parking lot of Eclectic United Methodist Church.

The food giveaway was offered to residents through a partnership between First Baptist Church of Eclectic and Eclectic United Methodist Church. Event organizer and Eclectic UMC church member Terry Kalichak said 13,552 pounds of food from the Montgomery Area Food Bank was distributed.

Each family received potatoes, onions, blueberries, butter, milk, crackers, cabbage, carrots, salad mix, tomatoes and more. Kalichak said the churches host the food giveaway quarterly under the umbrella of the Eclectic Kindness Ministry.

Purchasing more than 13,000 pounds of food at retail value would have easily cost about $22,000, but through the Montgomery Area Food Bank, the Eclectic UMC and First Baptist Eclectic paid a total of $250 -- $125 each.

"One of the things that impresses me the most about the Montgomery Area Food Bank is that most of the food given out goes to kids and the elderly," Kalichak said. "It goes to kids that live in households without enough food to eat and to elderly people living on fixed incomes."

This time around, about 20 volunteers from about three different Eclectic churches came together to help make the mobile pantry a success. Kalichak more volunteers are needed and welcome. No experience is necessary.

Volunteers get stationed at pallets of food and simply fill bags with items from their station and place the food in the trunks of cars. Recipients stay in their vehicles, so there is no contact between volunteers bagging food and those being served. However, volunteers are still asked to wear masks, and gloves if desired. Social distancing is observed with volunteers as well.

"This is a blessing to so many families who otherwise fall through the cracks, and is needed now more than ever," Kalichak said.

To inquire about volunteering, contact Kalichak Terryakalichak@outlook.com.