Earlier this year, a family in need visited the Southpoint Community Christian Church to pray for help. What did they receive? A welcome surprise and newfound hope.

Patrick (left) and Louise (right) provide an uplifting environment at Open Arms Food Pantry. (Photo by: Jack Reynolds)

“This couple needed food to feed their three children,” said DTE CI manager Louise Hannah, who volunteers her time to coordinate the Open Arms Food Pantry. “They just happened to run into my husband, ‘the food pantry guy’, and he set them up with food for their whole family. It’s those moments, being able to answer someone’s prayers, that really standout.”

For Louise and Patrick Hannah, it was a no-brainer to take over the Open Arms Food Pantry in 2011. Located in Trenton and ran out of the Southpoint Church, the pantry is open every Wednesday night from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. providing food and friendly faces to those in need.

By partnering with Gleaners Community Food Bank and participating in local food drives, Open Arms has served more than 100,000 pounds of food in 2018. Each family that visits receives 75-pounds of milk, eggs, fresh meat, produce, canned goods, etc. The pantry serves approximately 40 families a week and up to 500 people a month.

“I enjoy being able to help families who are going through tough times and make an impact in real-time,” Patrick said. “I’ve been lucky enough to run into some families outside the pantry — hearing how we’ve made a difference in their lives – makes it very fulfilling.”

The Hannah’s rely on the support of volunteers to help them operate the pantry. Since its beginning, the local community has embraced the pantry and bolstered its efforts. Open Arms has even partnered with local high schools to get students involved in volunteerism at an early age.

Open Arms provides children with candy filled stockings during the holidays. (Photo by: Jack Reynolds)

Louise knows from real experience the hardships that can come along in life. Those struggles can worsen if people don’t know about these types of resources or put off seeking help.

“We know some people come in very humbled and really have to let their pride go to come in and ask for help,” Louise said. “We make sure to show them respect and kindness – that everybody needs help at some point in their lives – and asking for help is sometimes the most courageous thing you can do.”

When asked, what motivates her to volunteer so much of her time to other people, Louise gave a simple answer.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than giving back your time, money and energy to those in need,” Louise said. “It’s a privilege to give back to others.”

If you’re interested in volunteering or donating to Open Arms Food Pantry, reach out to Louise at foodpantry@southpointccc.com.