Between COVID-19, tropical storms and Hurricane Sally, 2020 was a challenging year for everyone on the Gulf Coast. Many had to rise to those challenges and overcome extreme adversity. One ministry that helped thousands cope is Prodisee Pantry in Spanish Fort. Prodisee Pantry has been able to help Baldwin County families for 17 years thanks to the prayers and support of the communities there. The year 2020 pushed its resources to the limit.
“Twenty-twenty was unprecedented for Prodisee Pantry. I mean, we supplied over three million pounds of food to over twenty-nine thousand families that visited us,” said Prodisee Pantry Executive Director, Deann Servos.
The numbers are staggering. Produce demand was up 363% over last year. Dry goods up 179% and eggs, dairy and meat up 850% over last year. That need was felt evenly throughout the county with 26% of the families helped from North Baldwin, 26% from the eastern shore, 25% from central and 23% from south Baldwin. Of the more than 29,000 families served, 9,100 were new, never having sought food rom Prodisee Pantry before.
The New Year has started with the COVID-19 pandemic reaching new highs. Tuesday, January 12, 2021 more than 200 families went through the distribution line to get critical food supplies. Volunteers wore protective gear and loaded up cars in a contact-free environment. The non-profit, like so many other organizations and businesses has learned to pivot to thrive.
“Prodisee Pantry runs on the power of prayer and that’s what kept us going during 2020 and we ask the community to continue to pray for us, continue to give financially, continue to give of your time if you can but most of all, the power of prayer runs Prodisee Pantry and we can all do that,” Servos explained.
Partnerships developed over the years has allowed Prodisee Pantry to adjust and continue to provide food and other, important social services. Prodisee officials anticipate the increased need to continue for at least another six months. Its committed group of volunteers will be there for the long haul.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people here and it’s just very rewarding to see all the help that’s being distributed to the community and it’s very fulfilling to be here,” said Jim Kimbrough who has been volunteering for nine years.
Pantry officials anticipate seeing a 10% to 15%t increase in family needs in 2021. On a positive note, they said they’re already seeing those numbers coming down a little bit, but they just don’t know what 2021 will hold.