March 2017: Our Outreach Center is celebrating its one-year anniversary! The Journey Outreach Center (ORC) is a 10,000 square foot, state of the art client-centered food pantry and resource building. The design and process are intentional. Client Centered outreach means our feeding ministry emphasizes the individual and their needs versus conveniently moving bulk food. The ORC is without a doubt, a compassionate, effective outreach that provides more than just food to people who are also hungry for kindness and respect. People know us because we have been here for over a decade. For new folks, we have signage, flyers and a strong social media presence, but for our rural, off-the-beaten-path neighbors, word of mouth prevails. The thoughtful process begins before you get inside- the parking lot has trained volunteers to assist, ongoing security and is coned to provide safe parking and spaces for pedestrians as they exit and return to their vehicles, buses and bikes. Everyone is welcome here. Our Welcome Center staff greet folks warmly, sign them in, hand out electronic pagers (buzzes when you’re next in line) and directs folks to comfortable seating, beverage and snack area, restrooms, services, etc. We also ask folks to complete a nutritional, food and social service survey. We utilize this data to help us identify dietary issues, specific food needs (like pop top canned items, gluten free product, etc.), document preferred/new food requests and secure supplementary community resources as needed.
Every ORC Team Member is Food Safety trained. Some work as personal shoppers that guide each individual through the shopping and selection process. Some corral carts, some bag, some stock and restock throughout the day. The ORC is set up much like your favorite retail grocery store, with shopping carts, produce display stands, large glassed door coolers and freezers filled with the very same options. The personal shopper will ask if there are dietary and nutritional restrictions and then works with the individual to select the best items that fit preferences and needs. Friendly Volunteer Baggers bag and box up your groceries and other volunteers carry groceries back to the car, bus stop or bicycle. Prayer is offered and everyone is told to come on back whenever they need to because they are welcome here.