Pinellas food pantry struggling to keep shelves stocked - FOX 13 News

Pinellas food pantry struggling to keep shelves stocked

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The refrigerator is practically empty at a Pinellas County food pantry in Lealman. The shelves are almost bare.

"The food we have now isn't going to last very long, so yes we need more food," said Pastor Joe Gill of Freedom Ministries.

Pastor Joe helps run the food pantry at Lealman United Methodist Church. They give to families, children, and seniors who are struggling to get by. It's a small, charitable operation with far reach. John Trillinghast, from Clearview United Methodist Church, helps run the pantry also.

"A lot of people would fall through the cracks because they don't have the ability to get to Metropolitan Ministries," Trillinghast said.

Pastor Joe says he does appreciate the work done by larger organizations and charities, like Metropolitan.

"They're good people and they do a wonderful job," he said. "But we're more hands-on local. We go and we talk to the people. We know their situation and we get more involved on a personal level."

Pastor Joe personally delivers food baskets. However, it's not just canned goods and rice they need.

"They don't have money for food," said Trillinghast. "They don't have money for soaps and toothpaste and shampoos, and the simple stuff we take for granted because it's in our bathrooms every day."

The small sign outside is their only advertising. It stays up long after the holidays are over.

"A lot of people seem to get in a giving mood around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but in June and July, people are hungry as well," said Pastor Gill.

Freed Ministries can use donations of food, clothes, and money. Lealman United Methodist Church is on 58th Avenue North.

Here is a link to their website:


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