JustServe, JustServe Homepage, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In Honor of MLK Day, Service Project Helps Local Food Pantry

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, members from Prosper congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints served Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors (also known as N3) last week with the task of taking inventory. N3 is making a big impact for residents who face food insecurity and inventory numbers are crucial to determining funding and providing for future needs in the area.

Each of us has an unknown effect on our community and it is the everyday action and small sacrifices of time that produce growth. Martin Luther King Jr.’s service for the civil rights movement did not start with the March on Washington; it began with the small moments he took to listen to those suffering in his community and how he served them when they faced injustices.

With generous donations from its partners and community volunteers, N3 seeks to bless many with daily necessities. In December 2023 alone, N3 served over 832 households, 1,015 individuals and 100 seniors and added 64 new households that will benefit from the pantry’s distribution.

The inventory process demanded a spirit of adventure from some of the volunteers who scaled warehouse shelves to count a mountain of paper products. “We were able to create so much space on their shelves by restacking and reorganizing different items,” says Angela Johnson, a JustServe coordinator in Prosper. Valerie Sauter assisted patrons with their shopping, using her fluency in Spanish when needed, gained while serving as a missionary for the Church in Chile.

Ella Dellenbach and Will Gillespie — two college students on their winter break — did inventory of cases of canned goods and trained with dedicated N3 staff to help the midmorning rush by loading patrons’ orders into their cars one by one. To accommodate N3’s new staff growth, volunteers also cleared space upstairs, allowing for future office space and extra storage.

When the project wrapped up for the day, Johnson conveyed the volunteers’ feelings about the experience. “Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere there and delighted in the joy of service. We were able to get a lot done because the two ladies we worked with were both amazing.” Johnson said, referring to Norma Khayat, N3 Operations Manager and Board member, and Assistant Operations Manager Jill Stillman.

More volunteers who served Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors by organizing shelves and taking inventory. From L to R: Kady Read, Valerie Sauter, Angela Johnson, Liesl Fisher, Stephanie Nielsen, Gina Hema, Emily Martino, Heather Vandygriff, Sheri Lloyd and Ella Dellenbach. (Photo taken by Cherise Sallaway)

Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors is always looking for volunteers, providing sign-up slots and postings about current donations needed. Families or businesses who would like to “adopt a shelf” in the pantry for regular donations can find more information on n3foodpantry.org or linked through JustServe.org. For service opportunities in your area, check out JustServe and put your zip code in the search bar to find a project near you!