When we at Parkville Presbyterian expanded the physical size of the church between 2004 and 2006, we made particular room for the SPEAC (Southern Platte Emergency Assistance Center) food pantry, crafting a space designed for the unique needs of this ministry. SPEAC has been a mission of our church for almost thirty years, but we  have hosted a food pantry here for over fifty years. In 2016, SPEAC continued this decades-long mission by assisting over 4,000 people with more than 20,000 bags of groceries.

During the past year, SPEAC with Northland Miracles to allow evening access to     the pantry on four occasions. The school social worker for Pathfinder Elementary  identified parents who are considered working poor and cannot visit the pantry during the regular daytime hours. During 2018 the SPEAC board hopes to expand evening hours to provide service and support to similar families in the Park Hill School District.

One of the most rewarding aspects of this evening hour expansion is the heart-felt appreciation expressed by these parents. One woman told the school social worker that after her first visit to the food pantry she cried because it was the first day in a long time that she did not have to worry about what she was going to feed her children for breakfast. Another parent said that she often has to choose between food and $ 400 Rx medication for her 2 diabetic children.   This is an ongoing struggle for her, but she wants to continue working in order to set an example for her children rather than     quitting work and going on welfare.

The generosity of the PPC congregation in providing space and utilities as well as   groceries for the SPEAC food pantry makes it possible for parents like these to feed their children. These blessings provided by SPEAC continue to be a beacon of hope for those families without enough food.

Linda Tillinghast

Risk-Taking Mission Team