As we enter into the Fall, for most the typical ideas of happiness, warmth, family and food come into mind. Thanksgiving is a holiday season that revolves around families coming together with a large turkey dinner, but that is not the case for everyone. Not all families have the luxury of having food all of the time and that is why the South Sacramento Interfaith Partnership (SSIP) Food Closet is so important to many community members of Sacramento.
SSIP is located at Bethany Presbyterian Church on 24th Street and Fruitridge Road, between I-5 and Highway 99, just minutes south of downtown Sacramento. Bethany Presbyterian Church was established in 1970 by clergy from south area congregations. Its Food Closet serves families, individuals, and homeless people that are in need within seven Sacramento zip codes. It’s the 3rd largest food bank in the Sacramento County, serving nearly 5,500 individuals each month. These people in need are able to go to the Food Closet, Monday through Friday, and can receive food once a month. The recipients receive enough food to prepare three meals a days for three consecutive days.
As I took a trip down to SSIP, I saw just how many families and people were in need and how this food bank is saving lives. Some of the individuals who use the Food Closet were very shy about their need for help, but one man was willing to share his opinion with me. Ryan Jackson is a 43 year old homeless man that has been coming to the Food Closet for about four years told me, “I am grateful to have a place like this that can keep me surviving on the streets since I am not able to do so myself most of the time. The church members and volunteers give me a reason to come back, not just the food.”
This man, just like the hundreds of people who come each day and even the thousands of people each month, are being saved by the South Sacramento Interfaith Partnership’s Food Closet. This place is making a huge difference in the lives of Sacramento residents which is why we should take the time to look in our own neighborhoods to see what we can do to make a difference as well.