THE SAMS MINISTRY
The Share A Meal Service, better known as the SAMS Pantry, is a food assistance ministry for Midland residents. SAMS Pantry is St. John’s largest local outreach ministry, operating in the community since October 1, 1984. In fall of 2012, SAMS moved its operations off the main church grounds and into leased space about a half mile away at 503 S. Saginaw Rd. Our food pantry operates six days a week and regularly serves about 100 families a month. Clients are assigned an appointment time and allowed to make their own selections based on their household needs for a week.
SAMS is one of eight member food pantries in the Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network. The Network, or EFPN, is responsible for setting appointment times and determining best pantry location for those seeking assistance. While SAMS Pantry has regular hours, we can only serve by appointments scheduled through the EFPN. If you live in the Midland area and need assistance, contact St. John's with your your name and the best telephone number at which to reach you and we'll pass it along to the EFPN. Their turn-around time for scheduling appointments is typically 1-2 business days.
To truly get a sense of the magnitude & multitude of moving parts making this ministry possible, click on image above for a brief movie presentation about the SAMS ministry, our valuable partners, and relevant food insecurity statistics.
HOW TO HELP
Monetary donations may be made payable to St. John's Episcopal Church, noting SAMS Pantry in the memo section. If considering a donation of food and personal care items, please keep this list of priority items in mind. To lend your heart and hand to this ministry, email St. John's Ministry Coordinator Carol Sullivan here.
STAMP OUT HUNGER
Stamp Out Hunger 2017 achieved record setting collection numbers. 7,981 items of food and personal care were added to the SAMS Pantry available inventory. This represents 10% of our annual food needs collected in a single day - WOWZA! Local letter carriers (NALC Branch 2317) hauled in over 40,000 lbs in donations collected in Midland alone on Saturday; all of which was distributed to 13 area pantries. Click here to read more and see photos.
Each year, on the second Saturday of May, volunteers pitch in to help SAMS Pantry process thousands of donated items collected during the Stamp Out Hunger campaign. Between loading at the postal dock, a few round trips with a trailer to deliver and unload donations, crews of volunteers checking for dates, sorting and boxing up food, and a final effort to move items into our stockroom in some sort of organized fashion - many hands are always needed to make less work for all! Our 2018 date is Saturday, May 12.
Special Gift Helps Celebrate In Community:
Memorial Presbyterian and St. John's Episcopal have partnered to fund an extra $10 to every client served at Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network members (8 pantries) during our churches' 150th anniversary months of September and October 2017. Learn more about how St. John's was "Celebrating in Community" through our Sesquicentennial year... click here.
SAMS, MCEFPN Open House Programs
Sunday, April 17, 2016— A great turnout of St. John’s parishioners got the Midland Country Emergency Food Pantry Network Open House programs started off right. Thanks to all who came to SAMS Pantry for our church’s special fellowship event or who stopped by during the afternoon’s public open house hours. For years, two Midland postal workers wondered where all the food they collected on Stamp Out Hunger days went. The open house gave them a chance to finally see! Click here to read more and see photos
DONATION BAGS INITIATIVE
The Emergency Food Pantry Network (EFPN), of which St. John’s SAMS Pantry is a member, is the recent recipient of a St. John’s Endowment Committee grant to purchase reusable grocery bags. EFPN member pantries are making these bags available to their supporting congregations. We hope the visible reminder of these bags will increase donations and the tag suggestions will help us with what is in greatest demand. We appreciate your cooperation in making this a successful initiative!
The SAMS donation bags were blessed during worship services at St. John's Episcopal Church (summer 2015).
Staffing, stocking, collecting and purchasing for a six-day-a-week food pantry takes lots of human resources. SAMS is fortunate to have the ecumenical efforts of 60-70 dedicated volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church and several other Midland churches as well as folks who get connected to serving through the EFPN. SAMS and our clients are also very grateful for the area churches whose food collections are regularly donated to and distributed through our pantry.
FREE RECIPE BOOKS!
Trish Harris, a professor at Delta College and SAMS volunteer, decided to give her 2014 winter semester writing students a unique assignment. She had them create a cookbook targeted to those who use a food pantry and/or food commodities. The recipes would be simple, and make use of ingredients typically available in local food pantries. The students partnered with Julia Terhune, then of Michigan State University Extension Services and Dana Pressnall, co-coordinator of the SAMS pantry.
Books were made available at no cost to pantry clients through a grant given by the Midland Area Community Foundation to the Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network.