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Starting a Food Pantry

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Twerner
1/27/2017 17:09 EST

I have twice visited Belize, both on mission trips. My wife and I really connected with the children and families in one area. So much so that we are wanting to start a food pantry in their community. I have helped with food distribution in the states but never with this kind of distance. I have secured a location in a church we have ties with and their Pastor has agreed to help. Does anyone have some connections in the retail grocery business that might assist me? We are raising funds now and have figured out how to transfer funds to our friends who will help.
Any information will be helpful.
Thank you.

Tim

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Twerner
1/30/2017 07:36 EST

I am purchasing shelves for the pantry within a week or two. The idea is to provide needed food to the families who have school children who can't afford to pay for their lunches. What are the common ingredients in most Belize dishes? I'm looking for basic ingredients. I know we ate a lot of rice & beans with shredded chicken when we stayed there.
Any information about typical Belize foods, food costs, or grocery locations is greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much.

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bobbyveee
1/30/2017 09:03 EST

Hi. Applaud what your trying to achieve, but really think youve gone about the task back to front, finding a food source first would have logically the #1 piority not shelving etc. Wish you the best of luck, you'll need it

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Twerner
1/30/2017 10:51 EST

Thank you...I guess. I guess criticism is welcome too. I don't think luck is needed here. God has provided this opportunity for my wife and I so I have no doubts or hesitations.
The first thing I've done is fundraising and search for a regular income stream (besides my own). So that has already been addressed. I am working with the local church in that area and with the NMI (Nazarene Missions International). So things are already in motion.
So again, any helpful advice is much appreciated -maybe from someone who lives in the Belize City area.
Thank you.

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bobbyveee
1/30/2017 11:32 EST

Have you contacted any of the Mennonite farmers ? They produce much or all of what your looking for

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Twerner
1/30/2017 13:38 EST

I will look into that. Thank you for your input.

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mgammo
1/30/2017 20:06 EST

My observation regarding the grocery stores, at least in Corozal was this. The grocery stores are usually mom and pop operations run by Chinese. I don't know if there are any big chains, if there are I would think Belize City would have one. If you are looking for donations from the mom and pops I don't think they will play ball with you.
I do trust you will be successful in your kingdom work endeavors.....
There are a lot of skinny little kids in Belize who can use a square meal.
I guess you could provide oil, cornmeal, rice, beans, onions,cans of Le Leche..milk. maybe sugar, ..ai don't know how you could provide meat or fish. I have bought seeds for people, but they have to want to farm and have access to a pump and a well. Maybe if you would buy the Mennonites seeds, you could strike some kind of bargain with them. They are fair, but hard nosed business men, they are trying to make a buck too....I don't believe in luck as well.....

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terrific
1/31/2017 02:32 EST

There was the clinic in Sucotz Run by Nurse Margaret. The clinic often was given food stuffs by various charities and sometimes gifts from grateful patients. for distribution as a food pantry distribution.
There is a lot of work involved. and added costs, She usualy managed to have rice, beans, sugar and flour an hand most of the time. But those supplies come in large sacks and need to be distributed in usable amounts. Wieghing and bagging into Zip lock bags ( Not very cheap in Belize) 1lb at a time from a 200lb or sometimes larger sack It takes hours, those doing the weighing need disposable gloves (more added costs) and ideally hair covers and have to be in a "clean" environment with accurate scales and you need large waterproof containers available to store your little bags. Lots of volunteers are needed as it was found not many people did it twice and as a result it was down to one person. Nurse Margaret. Not trying to put anyone off but the local trades are not likely to donate food stuffs. (well not in Cayo district) but some would give a good discount when they knew those dry goods were being purchased for the clinic. There are no chains in Belize Brodies is the nearest to such, as they have 3 stores, and some families have two stores so there are no corporate sponsors to appeal to.

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Kenubelizeit
2/1/2017 20:12 EST

Hello feel free to email me at kenubelizeit@yahoo.com I do have experience and advice in starting a food pantry.

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Kenubelizeit
2/1/2017 20:23 EST

Please consult with Ana Williams at the Department of human services she heads the government services pantry program and would be able to give you factual information she is in Belize city. No use in reinventing the wheel.

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Twerner
2/3/2017 07:39 EST

Thank you again for all this information. The task at hand is sometimes intimidating and making this work from so far away provides plenty of opportunity for doubt. But I realize now more than ever that God is bigger than any obstacles I face and can provides hope when others see none.
I hope this adventure takes me into the unknown and demonstrates what the power of faith and hope can achieve.
I will continue to check this board for info and will update any progress made.
Thanks to all.

Tim

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OutaHereIn2017
2/4/2017 19:57 EST

Don't want to throw cold water on what sounds like a good project. I'm not Christian but it sounds like something I'd be willing to support.

That said, I'm curious to know what poverty is like in Belize. Is food the biggest unmet need? Has anyone tried cash grants to the poor in Belize, the way GiveDirectly (https://www.givedirectly.org/) has done in east Africa? Anyone here have a conversation with a poor Belizian lately?

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Twerner
2/6/2017 08:54 EST

Hello. Thank you for your post. This is not a Christian or religious food pantry, it will be sponsored and donated to from many people. So your faith or religious background is no hinderance here. And Inappreciate your support. Once up and running I will have ways to directly donate to this cause.
I am sure the food supply is not the biggest need in Belize. There is 41% Poverty caused by many reasons; Lack of Secondary/further education (peak age of school age children is 11), teen pregnancy - 90 adolescent births per 1,000, crime and unemployment are others. I feel these issues are beyond me. I've had experience with food pantries and food distribution along with fundraising and issue awareness that for me - it's a good fit.
Thank you again for your interest. Consider helping if you can.

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terrific
2/7/2017 02:21 EST

Just a little note you say targeting the school children who cant afford lunches. Well In Belize most school children go home for lunch. The children with families who cant afford lunch are not likely to be at school.

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mgammo
2/7/2017 08:49 EST

Terrific makes a salient point here. Most parents either walk or ride bikes to school at noon and take their children home for lunch. Maybe you could net work through a principal or teacher...

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Kenubelizeit
2/7/2017 09:16 EST

As.mentioned before all that work of seeing where are there more needs has been addressed by the government. So better chaec with the ministry of human development.

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Twerner
2/7/2017 09:31 EST

I am by no means an expert in Belize culture so the more info shared the better. I am working directly with the Principal of the Elementary school there in Belize City and she has explained there are several children who can't afford lunches and the school provides them. These are 1st graders through 5th or 6th grade. The school doesn't have a "Free Lunch Program" like we do in the states, so I have identified a need. And instead of just shipping $ to the school - a food pantry can help many more people I believe. My intention is to be able to reach out to the entire community.
Thank you again for all your input. If anyone reading this wants to get directly please let me know. There are ways to help if you live there in Belize City or if you live in the US.
Thank you.

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whelewn
3/15/2017 22:42 EST

What area are you planning on?

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RevJohnny
10/7/2017 10:37 EST

How is progress going with foid bank?

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bobbyveee
10/7/2017 17:44 EST

This is many months old, why not send a PM to the originator , your much more likely to get an answer. Good luck

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