A journey to build and strengthen relationships with our neighbors at Benjamin Banneker Elementary.
Andie’s Pantry is one part of St. Andrew’s partnership with Benjamin Banneker Elementary School, along with The Banneker Families Fund and the Benjamin Banneker Edible Schoolyard Garden. Read more about the fund and garden.
What is Andie’s Pantry?
Andie’s Pantry is an opportunity to connect with and support students and families at our partner school, Benjamin Banneker Elementary, through the simple act of sharing groceries. Each Andie’s Pantry family receives $175 worth of groceries four times a year. This support is a lifeline to those who are on the margins, especially families who do not qualify for government assistance but still struggle to make ends meet. It is not uncommon to hear stories of people who have to make the tough decision between paying an essential bill or providing fresh food for their family. Andie’s Pantry happens 4 times a year; October, December, February and April. If you have questions please feel free to reach out to Melissa Rock at email@example.com or Allison Fikejs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ways You Can Serve
Plan to meet a Banneker family at the grocery store.
The volunteer will meet a Banneker family at a store of their choice where they shop for the family’s needs (Andie’s Pantry will provide $150).
The volunteer will wait for the family’s text message, meet them at the store, will go through the check out, and then load the groceries in the family’s car.
This is a chance for conversation on neutral ground and for the family to select their own needs.
Purchase and deliver groceries from a list the Banneker family creates.
Have the Banneker family select $150 worth of grocery items at their grocery store online. Have them send a screenshot of the list.
The volunteer will shop, purchase the items using Andie’s Pantry money, and deliver to the family’s home.
(Tip: The volunteer can recreate the family’s shopping list and order online for aquick pick up.)
Donate funds to provide groceries and support growing relationships.
- Donate online now
- Memo: Andie’s Pantry
- Write a check
- Memo: Andie’s Pantry
- Send to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (6401 Wornall Terrace, Kansas City, MO, 64113)
Andie’s Pantry Stories
So, You Think You Know Andie's Pantry?
Allison Fikejs, April 2023
A few weeks ago, while at coffee hour, I had the pleasure of speaking to several parishioners about Andie’s Pantry, one of the outreach partnerships between St. Andrew’s and Benjamin Banneker Elementary School. There was such positive energy surrounding these conversations but also revealed that most did not know everything Andie’s Pantry does!
For me, this ministry always causes me to pause and consider my blessings. Certainly, something I should be doing more than four times a year. One Andie’s Pantry volunteer shared that one of the families she serves was facing the dilemma of choosing between paying for the electric bill or buying groceries. The mom had recently received a small raise at her job, but this raise in her income disqualified her from receiving assistance but was not enough to cover the family’s needs. This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon story.
Andie’s Pantry is not a ministry that is underwritten by the outreach commission – it is sustained solely by the generosity of the parishioners. It costs approximately $2,400 for each installment of the ministry which happens four times a year. Ongoing donations in any amount are always welcome and greatly appreciated!
Each family is assigned a volunteer and then the family and the volunteer agree on a mutually beneficial time to:
- Meet at the grocery store and pay for the groceries the family has shopped for;
- Get the family’s shopping list, shop for them, and deliver the groceries to their home;
- Have the family shop online and pick up the groceries and deliver them to the family’s home.
- Shop online for the family and have the groceries delivered to their home.
When you, as a volunteer, finish shopping with the family, you simply fill out a quick form and submit it to the church, and you are re-imbursed the $150.
This model gives us the opportunity to connect with our greater community through service and friendship, but also can easily accommodate anyone’s busy schedule!
Won’t you join us? Remember: “We can’t do everything the world needs, but the world needs everything we can do!”
Presence of the Holy Spirit
Cameron Rostron, February 2023
Sometimes, the Holy Spirit reveals itself in the most simple acts. For me, it came in the form of a car ride with an Andie’s Pantry recipient.
As most know, Andie’s Pantry provides groceries to parents of Banneker Elementary students. While I’ve had the pleasure of doing this for the last few years, I have, admittedly, struggled to develop meaningful connections in these all-too-brief interactions.
But last month, an opportunity presented itself when I found myself getting into a deeper conversation with one particular mom – simply because we both had the courage to take our relationship a step further.
This time, as I delivered her groceries, and she expressed her gratitude – as she always does – I noticed her energy seemed particularly low. When I reminded her of the Free Store event the following day, she said, “I can’t go because my car doesn’t work.” As I looked at it in the driveway, I could see that its front right tire was completely deflated.
“Well,” I offered, “I could come back tomorrow and pick you up.” She paused a moment, and then said: “That would be great.”
The next day, as we drove to the event, we talked – slowly at first – and found we had things in common, especially motherhood and love for our families. She proudly showed me pictures of her kids – their sporting activities (?), their school artwork, their smiling faces. She also shared with me that she struggled with depression, and that it had been particularly difficult in recent weeks. After lunch, when we were waiting in line for her to pick out clothing items, she admitted that going to the event and seeing so many people caring about each other had lifted her spirits.
Obviously, it is disheartening to think about the continuing challenges of this hardworking mother-of-five, but I am encouraged and tremendously grateful for the opportunity for connection that neither of us had foreseen and for the presence of the holy spirit in these everyday – but very important – connections.
Let's Joy Out Together!
Sandra and John Heny, Easter 2021
We have delivered the requested groceries to the same three families four times; now, we’re getting to know them as a friend who visits monthly. It was Easter time, so I called the moms and one grandmother who is sometimes supporting five children, to find out how many children would be visiting at Easter and what were their favorite Easter candies. I ended up making a family Easter basket so each family could share their favorites.
We are now getting ready to make our fifth delivery of their requested groceries (this has been going on for eight months). Since it is the beginning of summer, I plan on making up a Summer Fun Bag for each family.
All the mothers are amazing in different ways. One mother goes online at Hy-Vee, selects each item with its price, and adds up the total, careful not to go over the budget and even leaving room for the tax. The mothers always ask at which store we will be shopping so they can be sure we do not go over the Andie’s Pantry budget per family. All are wonderful people.
When we arrive, the families come out to help carry the groceries and thank us and we always say we are helping each other. We also tell them that, in the past year, there were times when others did the same for us when we were quarantined.
All of this brings John and me great JOY. As one person put it in a Day by Day a few years ago “LET’S JOY OUT TOGETHER!”
My First Andie's Pantry Experience
Relayed to Melissa Rock by Dr. Charlie Porter, Easter 2021
This was my first Andie’s Pantry experience. Susan and I have donated, but I have been behind the scenes. After Fr. John spoke about Andie’s Pantry in the announcements and from the pulpit, I reached out to you (Melissa Rock). We spoke about Andie’s Pantry and what you were trying to accomplish. Perhaps there is something in my experience that might make it easier for somebody else to give Andie’s Pantry a try.
In talking with Melissa, I talked about growing up east of Troost at 47th and Benton and then 63rd and Swope Parkway. To share a little, I grew up in a home that never wanted for much. We knew the value of a hard-earned dollar, but Dad was a salesman who told me that if he didn’t sell, we didn’t eat. Mom ran the house. We had new pencils and notebooks for school every year. I studied hard, went to Med School, became a Cardiologist at KU Med Center, but I hear some echoes of my own childhood and my old neighborhoods inside the Andie’s Pantry story.
So why am I writing, or letting Melissa share, my story with all of you? In talking about my experience, we both felt my story could very well help others dip their toe into the water. When I got my Benjamin Banneker family’s address, I just about keeled over. My Andie’s Pantry family lives six blocks from where I grew up.
I continued to reach out to Melissa: “We have a lot of shampoos etc. from hotels, can I put that in a bag in addition to the groceries?”, “So, I just call and set up a time?”, “Since it is Easter, can I put some amazing chocolates in the bags?”
I built a perfect plan; and I went over to Bella Napoli and put some fabulous chocolate candy in the bags.
My “perfect plan” had some hiccups; as I told Melissa, “It was not a Hallmark moment.” My family was nice; the children came out and helped empty the car. It was clear from the outside of the home that these groceries were needed. I maybe felt a bit awkward and maybe they did too. Then I had to make a second trip because I forgot a bag with chips, other snacks, and some hotel soaps. Not much conversation with anyone that trip either, but I think I was a little brief on my self introduction and had a decent sized to-do list waiting for me at home. It was Palm Sunday afternoon, and the grocery shopping and multiple delivery trips got in the way of lunch. I was really hungry and headed over to Jimmy John’s for a quick pick up of an online sandwich order (lettuce leaf wrapped, no bun OBTW). On the way west on 63rd, I hit a huge pothole with such a bang that could have popped the airbag but all it did was badly bend the wheel. It gave me a little laugh as I realized that I had done some good for others and the direct result to me was the cost of a new front wheel. It was a great reminder that doing something you hope will be good for others can’t be expected to promptly yield good for yourself.
I’m looking forward to the next Andie’s Pantry adventure. Perhaps I’ll engage the family more successfully next time. Regardless of how our getting to know you visit went, they had a more bountiful Easter week and I remain blessed to have a great home, 40 years of happy marriage, a healthy daughter and a son who brought great spouses and four grandchildren into Sue and my lives. I did not do Andie’s Pantry for extra “points”. But just thinking about doing Andie’s Pantry, and then doing it, left me thinking I can help. I can do something besides my scheduled doctor work to help others in need. I can reach out, to a place I grew up, and maybe help a family, one Andie’s Pantry at a time. I’ll also be more alert for the potholes hiding along the way of future Andie’s Pantry experiences.
A Wonderful Friendship Project
Sally and Rick Stuart, Easter 2021
Connecting Two Service Opportunities - KCCG & Andie's Pantry