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Providence Food Pantry relocates to spacious, convenient location in West Terre Haute

Moving day can be stressful and for the volunteers at Providence Food Pantry located in West Terre Haute it was no exception. “I worried about how we would get 14 full-size refrigerators and freezers up the steps, loaded into the moving truck and unloaded at our new location at 701 West National Street,” said Sister of Providence Joseph Fillenwarth, director of the food pantry since 2006. God’s “Providence” prevailed, however, and the Congregation’s Facilities Management staff came to the rescue, performing the task in 40 minutes on April 4. Local churches also helped in the move.

The new pantry facility, which will continue to serve about 300 families monthly and operate solely by the generosity of volunteers, opened its doors April 11. There will be an Open House for the community at the pantry’s new location on Sunday, April 21, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Providence Food Pantry, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, has served low-income West Terre Haute families since 1994, from the basement of the former St. Leonard’s Catholic school building. Due to the sale of that property to another organization, the pantry needed to find a new base of operations. Saint Mary’s Village Parish has taken over a special relationship with the pantry, following the closing of St. Leonard’s. St. Mary’s is the receiving parish for St. Leonard’s and the proceeds from the sale of St. Leonard’s will go to assist the pantry.

Thanks to a generous West Terre Haute business couple, Accurate Insulation owners Keith and Jamie Richey, the food pantry has doubled the size of their space. The new building is safer and a more convenient location because there are no steep steps to maneuver for volunteers unloading food into the pantry or for clients carrying out their heavy, boxed groceries. “We now have a huge room to display the food and we have a garage door from which to unload it,” said Sister Joseph. The Richey’s offered the extra space in their building to the ministry for only the cost of utilities.

The pantry is open on Thursdays from 8 to 10:30 a.m. The larger pantry space also allows for use of carts by clients who are used to scooting their boxes of food across the floor rather than carrying the increasingly heavy boxes from shelf to shelf as they chose items. When asked to bring the cart back to the pantry after unloading food items, one client said, “I’ve been carrying this box up eight steps for 19 years. I certainly can carry the box to the car.”

The Providence Food Pantry remains unique among food pantries by offering a variety of meat, dairy items and fresh produce along with canned and boxed items. “It’s wonderful that so many churches assist us. We are ecumenical and truly all one in the body of Christ,” said Sister Joseph.

The pantry also has partnerships with the USDA, Catholic Charities and Helping Hands, a nearby non-profit, second-hand clothing store who provides half of the food for the pantry. Jeremy Stowers, the IGA manager, also works closely with the pantry, informing them of upcoming sales and ensuring they receive a good price on food.

Providence Food Pantry now has a board of directors comprised of representatives from seven churches in the West Vigo County area who are special supporters of the pantry.

“It’s a temporary location for now,” said Sister Joseph. For more information about Providence Food Pantry or how you can personally donate food or money, contact Sister Joseph Fillenwarth at 812-535-2544. You can also donate monthly, online, by designating Providence Food Pantry at www.SistersofProvidence.org

About the Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.

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Diane Weidenbenner

Diane Weidenbenner is the annual fund manager and donor relations for the Sisters of Providence Advancement Services office. She's also a Providence Associate.

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For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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