by Anna Ferraro
In downtown Arenzville, there’s a little beacon of hope for those in need – the Triopia Food Pantry – located at the Side-Door Christian Youth Center. Operating without titles or a full-time staff – they’re just run by families and volunteers in the community who desire to give to those who have less than them.
Wesley Hendricker, one of the volunteers that has been with the food pantry since it’s conception, recalled the day the first needy family stopped by St. Peter’s Lutheran Church over two decades ago. Hendricker thoughtfully stated several facts that struck him about that day – “The fact that they felt safe in stopping at our church that was located in the middle of two cornfields… the fact that all they had to do was talk with someone there and say, ‘we have need; can you help us?’ There was no questionnaire, or ‘are you a member of this church?’ the answer was, ‘Yes, we can help.’ That’s the attitude of this community.”
Hendricker’s family was key in collecting and delivering the first parcels. Over two decades later, they’re still at it. Hendricker shared, “Our goal is that no one should be hungry in this community and in this area.” He continued, “We live in one of the greatest farming communities in America. We can produce a lot of food here as farmers and gardeners, and there’s no reason we can’t share that with those who have need.”
After operating out of their church for years, the Triopia Food Pantry relocated to the Side-Door Christian Youth Center in downtown Arenzville in November 2016.
But sharing food and supplies is not just a Hendricker thing. And it’s not just an Arenzville thing. Every church in the area, as well as many individuals in the area have offered their services at one time or another. Hendricker shares, “What excites me is the potential that we have to make a major impact. There shouldn’t be hungry children in this region at all.”
The second Saturday of each month, they take in food donations. The third Saturday of each month, they distribute food between 8-10 a.m. And if you can’t come to pick up the food you need? No worries. Hendricker shares, “We deliver or meet people at the pantry. If we don’t have the items they need, we’ve been blessed with monetary resources so we can go and get them exactly what they need.”
Hendricker concluded that such flexibility and generosity is fueled by “the attitude of those of us in rural America – we know that we’re at this place in life, and we know that we’re blessed and in this position so that we can bless others.” So when it comes to formalities, they’re pretty low-key. When it comes to generosity, they’re anything but low-key. To contact the Triopia Food Pantry, call or text Wesley Hendricker at (217) 473-1603.