The Soldotna Food Pantry operates under the 501(c)(3) for Soldotna United Methodist Church 92-0111968
The Soldotna Food Pantry opened its doors in September of 2012 to address food insecurity in our area, their mission was to empower clients through choice. Clients may come to the Pantry once every four weeks to receive shelf stable products as well as dairy, frozen meat, produce, bread and eggs. Shelf stable items include peanut butter, tuna, macaroni and cheese, soup, ramen, canned vegetables and fruit, pork and beans, chili, spaghetti sauce and noodles, canned or dry beans, cereal, pancake mix, sugar, rice and a treat. All items are offered in relation to household size. The Pantry does not have any income limits as households can find themselves food insecure on an occasional basis despite adequate employment and/or income.
As an agency of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, the Pantry can purchase the foods needed when available at the Food Bank for 19 cents a pound. Additional foods necessary to meet demand are purchased at local stores as well as Costco in Anchorage and online through Amazon. A Community Garden was started in 2013 to provide more fresh produce to our clients in the summer months as well as garden plots to those interested. The Cooperative Extension has been on site to offer tips on preparing the fresh produce. Two local restaurants - Odie's Deli and Fine Thyme Cafe - bag and freeze their leftover soup which is offered to the clients.
The Soldotna Food Pantry is a partnership between Soldotna United Methodist Church and Christ Lutheran Church. Both church councils and congregations support the Pantry with cash and food donations as well as volunteer staff. The Kenai River Rotary Club is one of the organizations that provides support through planting and harvesting the garden, packing of food boxes, and providing monetary support.
The Food Pantry spends over $15,000 a year on the purchase of food. An additional $300 is spent on seeds and starts for the garden. The funds cover the cost of over 1500 food boxes a year - approximately 900 for households of 1 or 2, 400 for households of 3 or 4, 150 for households of 5 or 6 and 60 for households of 7 or more. Some clients visit us every four weeks while others only once. We have had as many as 750 households registered on a yearly basis.
For the safety of volunteers and clients alike, choice of product has been eliminated with COVID 19 protocol. Items are pre bagged and distributed outside.
The Kenai River Rotary proposes a grant of $1500 ($750 club & $750 district) to the Soldotna Food Pantry to purchase garden seeds, supplies, and supplemental food purchases to provide food boxes for clients in the area. The need is great as food insecurities in the area have increased due to joblessness.
Club members would assist in planting, harvesting, and packing the boxes. This Rotary work would be seen by stuff, the community, and the clients. The local news would be invited to do a story on our work.
This work is expected to be completed in October of 2021.