Valley Community Pantry moves to larger facility – Press Enterprise

The Valley Community Pantry, a food bank that has served the San Jacinto Valley for more than 50 years, will have a new home in the new year.

The charity, which also offers bill paying and other forms of assistance, will relocate to Trinity Lutheran Church in Hemet from a storefront a few miles up San Jacinto Street and the Oakland Ave.

The Pantry plans to be in its new home on January 2.

Executive Director Jim Lineberger said the move will bring many benefits to the organization, primarily a lot more space.

“We did our best with the building we had,” Lineberger said. “It will be like moving into a new house. It will change mentalities. »

The new facility, in a vacant preschool building behind the church, has 5,550 square feet, compared to the current house, which has 2,000 square feet.

Having more space will allow the pantry to get rid of two storage units it had to rent to house large freezers.

There will be more space for customers and a larger office for workers and volunteers and even an outdoor space where they can relax.

“I want them to be proud. I want them to know they are appreciated,” Lineberger said of the two employees and the many volunteers. “Volunteers are what makes this organization strong.

While rent was $1 a year for the previous building, which the pantry has been asked to vacate while the landlord considers its future, there will be a monthly charge of $600 for the new facility. Utilities will also cost more in the larger building.

Lineberger said he expects to need an additional $3,000 to $5,000 per month for operations.

He asks for donations to cover the costs of moving and renovating the building and is looking for workers who can give their time.

He will also apply for a grant to paint the facility, which he says has been empty for a few years.

“It takes a lot of work to clean up,” Lineberger said.

Most of the food that the pantry distributes is donated from local markets.

Trinity Lutheran pastor Erin Armstrong said the on-site food pantry would benefit the congregation.

“This move helps Trinity populate a currently vacant property, generate nominal rental income and help us be better partners with our wider community,” she said.

Armstrong said she was thrilled to host the Community Pantry and she thinks the congregation feels the same.

“We have supported the Pantry for years with food and monetary donations,” she said. “We are proud to be able to use the greatest resource we currently have – our property – to support such a great organization.”

Valley Community Pantry executive director Jim Lineberger stands in what will be the reception hall of the charity’s future new home at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hemet. CRAIG SHULTZ / STAFF

The new home is on Columbia Street, just south of Florida Avenue. While the current house is in a strip mall, mostly populated by Riverside County-run social service offices, the new one is in a residential neighborhood.

“We will likely lose customers who come to us,” Lineberger said. “But I want to be away from business. I’m grateful to be out here.

The Pantry’s primary mission is to provide emergency food and shelter to needy residents of Hemet, San Jacinto, Lakeview, Nuevo, Homeland, Idyllwild, Anza, Aguanga, and Sage.

“We serve the working poor, we serve the elderly, we serve single mothers,” Lindberger said. “We make the difference”

There are 10,000 families registered with the Pantry, Lineberger said. Customers can access six services per year.

“One of Christ’s clearest calls is to care for those in need,” Armstrong said. “This new arrangement is just one small way that we as a congregation are trying to live out that call and be a voice of compassion and service. We hope this is just another step forward for us and for the whole community.

The Community Pantry was founded in 1965 by Reverend Roy Schippling of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Hemet. In 1992 it became an official non-profit charity.

Lineberger, 57, has been the executive director for 6½ years and is the Pantry’s third home since its debut.

A man of faith, he said he wasn’t intimidated by moving into a much bigger house.

“Every time we’ve done something like that, the food comes,” he said. “We grew and everything grew with us.”

Valley Community Pantry

Where: 191 S. Columbia St., Hemet (from January 2)

Client Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday

Services include: food distribution; emergency shelter, rental and utility assistance; disaster relief services; home delivery for the elderly; Project “Waclothingothimng to homelessness”; holiday baskets; Christmas toys

Statistics (over the past six years):

Food assistance: More than 185,200 people with three meals a day for 2-3 days

Rental assistance: 36

Motel support: 33

Utility Support: 1,383

Volunteer hours: 75 volunteers dedicated nearly 198,000 hours

Food donations: nearly 390,000 pounds per year. Over 1,825,000 books in the last six years

Customer statistics

10,321 families registered. Total 30,343 people

Seniors (55+): 13.5%

Single mothers: 28%

Working class (working and still needing help): 14%

Children (up to 17): 41%

Homeless (living on the street): 1%

Homeless (living with family or friends): 7%

Contact: 951-929-1101


Norma P. Rex