Note from the Pantry

Every time I have written about the pantry for some time, I write about Grace. God seems to have “a vested interest.” Our pantry is beautiful to experience – the people, gifts, growth, faith, kids, … on and on.

I haven’t been picked up by the police from our pantry either.

Have you heard? In August a Police Officer approached one of our volunteers while he was handing meat out at the drive-through line. We kept distributing. The officer walked him to the patrol car, asked him to get in. By this time, I was standing nearby and asked the officer if he would bring our volunteer back. I believe that he responded yes, they just needed him for questioning. Neither of them returned that day. I later learned that our volunteer had been put in jail for theft of two dollars in change. Something his family claimed he was given for helping a white couple move. The couple pressed charges and our volunteer had a $10,000 bond. His family arranged to get him out with partial payment. Even though all charges were later dismissed, the family is out $1,200 which has been a hardship.

How could this happen? This is a bizarre story. I talked with the officer’s supervisor who confirmed, “yes, this is all over $2 in change.” Does it make a difference that our volunteer was black? I could not imagine this ever happening to my white son. Fr. Joe has been trying to get answers to how the bail could have been set so high?

If Grace Pantry is a generator of Grace, how can one of our poor volunteers be picked up while working, be subjected to three months of persecution (now, inexplicably, the couple is seeking restraining order against HIM), and left $1200 poorer?

Fr Joe and I have recognized that we need to do some work. Could we have protected our volunteer? Could the outcome have been different? Internally, how are our volunteers experiencing the pantry differently? Are there ways that some are treated unequally?  We will gather all willing volunteers and with the help of the diocese and our Commission??? on Racism, hear differing perspectives, and find common understandings for our work.