The Abundant Harvest, located in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse space at 24803 Oakhurst Drive, Spring, began operating last week and officially opened its doors March 30. Executive Director Jeremy Hall said that while the kitchen has been in development for years, the organization's experience running its Abundant Harvest Food Truck since 2016 and its connections with community members and other local nonprofits helped the pantry adapt through its launch in the midst of a crisis.
“We’d been distributing food as soon as the need was there with regard to the pandemic. We’ve really been doing it since Hurricane Harvey in our disaster relief response, and we’ve developed relationships with some local communities who are in constant need of food—food insecure communities," Hall said. "We’ve been feeding them ever since. And the need has just spiked with the pandemic.”
Hall said the panty distributed more than 22,000 pounds of food during its second day in operation, with a total of more than 4,000 meals and 66,000 pounds of food distributed so far this year. The pantry is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with half-hour time slots reserved for individuals to visit the facility and to pick up food.
“We try to use best practices as far as social distancing, so it’s been fewer [servings] than we’d like. We served about 20 individuals walking through our pantry on our first day that we were open, probably about the same yesterday," Hall said. "With those individuals that walk through, a lot of those are feeding families. So we have two people walk in and they each have families of six, that’s 12 in one visit, in one 30-minute time slot. So we can really maximize that.”
Hall said the pantry also hopes to further expand its offerings and serve up to 100 families per day through curbside pickup orders, which can be placed online via the pantry's website.
Hall also said some planned components at the Abundant Harvest, such as its cafe, lounge, and meeting areas, will not open until after coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted. Until then, the organization will continue in its current capacity as a food pantry and kitchen for those in need.
"We are responding to a time of crisis like we think that Jesus would respond by changing our mission and helping feed those in our community that can’t get food, and giving supplies to families that can’t get supplies as well," Hall said. "We love our community, we love the people that we get to share with and we love the support that we’ve already received from the community with volunteers and donations.”
More information on the Abundant Harvest, including food order requests, volunteer signups and donation opportunities, may be found on the pantry's website at www.harvestkitchen.org.