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April 20, 2014

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Church’s pantry stocked, but few know about it

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Mona Shield Payne/Special to the Sun

Volunteer Beverly Stokley stocks shelves at the Oasis Christian Church food pantry.

Updated Sunday, March 29, 2009 | 9:30 a.m.

Church Food Pantry

Volunteer Beverly Stokley fills bags with groceries in preparation for families in need of food arriving at the Oasis Christian Church food pantry. Launch slideshow »

For Oasis Christian Church, giving food to those who need it is a blessing.

"We're not asking anybody to join the church, we just want to help," Mike Grella, co-leader of the church's food pantry said. "There are absolutely no conditions."

The church opened a food pantry two months ago in its building at 10450 Gilespie St., near Cactus Avenue, stocked with about 1,500 pounds of non-perishables.

But Grella is wondering where all the hungry people are — an average of only three people a week have made appointments to collect food on Saturdays, he said.

Grella knows there must be more people who could use the help.

"People don't know where to go," he said. "Or people feel they can't get something for nothing. We just want to bless people."

The Rev. Doug Linderman had the idea to open the pantry to help people.

"We know there are a lot of people out there who are just surviving," he said.

The church buys its food from Three Square, a Las Vegas food pantry that provides non-profits food in bulk.

Today, Leah Sharp and her daughter Savannah, 5, picked up bags of macaroni and cheese, ravioli, peanut butter and applesauce.

Sharp lost her job as a cocktail waitress about five months ago. She's now attending a blackjack dealing school, and hopes to be placed with a job in a few weeks.

Until then, she and her children are staying with her mother.

"I'm just trying to help as much as possible," she said.

Grella said the church hopes to expand the food pantry into its own building with refrigerators.

Linderman said in an effort to attract more people, the church's youth group plans soon to distribute about 1,000 informational door hangers in the church's neighborhood.

Anyone wishing to pick up food, free of charge, can call to make an appointment on the church's main line, 270-7777.

After hours, if callers leave a message with their phone number, a church volunteer will call back to schedule a time on a Saturday.

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