Little Rock man reopens food pantry for families in need

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A young gentleman took over a food pantry in Southwest Little Rock after finding out it closed for the safety of its volunteers.

“I’m 76 and most of the volunteers are in their 70’s,” said Terri Hammond, director of Geyer Springs United Methodist Church’s food pantry.

Hammond said when the COVID-19 crisis hit, she had to shut down the pantry in fear of the elderly catching the virus.

“I couldn’t sleep at night,” said Hammond. “I was really concerned about our clients when shelter in place occurred.”

Families have relied on the church’s food pantry since 1991, and they now serve nearly 400 families every other week.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way,” said Hammond.

Quite literally. Hammond said Will Tidwell, a young gentleman in town found out about the closure and decided to step up and take over to keep operations going.

“We have the means to meet that need, so why not do it?” said Tidwell.

Tidwell gathered a group of teenagers and young adults and got to work.

They are now serving families in need curbside, modifying their distribution routine to keep everyone safe while making sure no one goes hungry.

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“I wanted to serve on the front lines because I remember being in that exact situation, not knowing where my next meal would come from,” said Tidwell.

The Geyer Springs United Methodist Church food pantry operates every first and third Thursdays every month from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. The next food distribution will be May 7.

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Tidwell has also partnered with St. Andrew United Methodist in Southwest Little Rock to provide a food distribution site there for the month of May.

It will be the second and fourth Thursday in May from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.