Community Provisions provides food for those in need


What a difference a year can make.

At the beginning of August 2019, only one jar of peanut butter was on the shelf at Community Provisions of Jackson County, and other food supplies were running low.

Chuck and Phyllis Seybold were the new co-directors of the pantry at the time, and they vowed there would be more peanut butter and food on the shelves soon.

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They kept that vow.

Today, the pantry has peanut butter, along with macaroni and cheese, canned goods and much more.

The Seymour couple replaced Paul Brock, who started Provisions in 1997 and led the nonprofit organization up until his retirement in June 2019. The pantry is located at 107 W. Bruce St. in Seymour and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. Tuesdays for Jackson County residents.

“It was the first of July last year when we took over, and we had volunteered for many years before that,” Chuck said.

They never closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic and have been open every Tuesday for those who need food. On the other days of the week, they are stocking the shelves and cleaning and disinfecting the pantry.

“We’ve got about 15 to 20 volunteers, but a few haven’t come back since the pandemic, but they will eventually,” Phyllis said. “We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the volunteers.”

Chuck said there were seven volunteers who didn’t even break stride when COVID-19 hit and all of the restrictions broke out. He knows the other volunteers had good reasons not to come in, but he said those seven really stuck with it and did a great job.

Since the start of COVID-19, the number of people visiting Provisions for food has not picked up like they thought it would. It has been slower to about average, Chuck said.

“I don’t really know why it has been slower, but maybe because there have been so many organizations giving out food,” Chuck said. “Also, a lot of places have been offering free meals, and we are just here to service the people that show up.”

With donated funds, the Seybolds typically shop for Provisions at JayC Foods Plus, Aldi and Walmart, wherever the best prices are.

“We’re doing very well right now, and our food supplies are way up from last summer,” Chuck said. “The food donations come from churches, individuals and a couple other places, and the monetary gifts are coming in, too.”

Jackson County residents who believe they are eligible for food at Provisions will need three things: A valid identification, a utility bill that shows their address to show they live in Jackson County and a paycheck stub or something to show they are low income.

“We’re not real sticklers on that and have helped out some homeless people,” Chuck said. “We’re pretty lenient, and sometimes, it’s just a judgment call, but we’re generous.”

After Gov. Eric Holcomb issued the stay-at-home order a few months ago, Provisions temporarily did a few home deliveries, but they are no longer doing those, Phyllis said.

“When someone comes by for food, they are not allowed inside the building,” Chuck said. “We’re not quite there yet, but the only exception is if they’re new, then they can step inside the door to the front desk and fill out paperwork.”

Phyllis said they keep food bagged up and loaded into six shopping carts so they will be ready for people when they arrive Tuesdays. Cold and frozen foods are brought out last.

When arriving at the pantry, clients stand outside the door, and someone signs them in. Then a food cart packed with two bags of groceries and more is pushed outside for them. After they take the food, the cart goes back inside to get wiped down and disinfected.

“They can wear a face mask if they want to, but it’s not required to pick up food,” Phyllis said. “They do social distancing outside, and I show them where to stand.”

Each client receives two grocery bags full of food along with other items, like frozen meat, chilled items, drinks and snacks, when they are available. Families with children receive extra food.

“There are a few bare spots on the shelf, like peas and carrots, which can be hard to find right now, not for lack of donation, but the stores have been out of certain things,” Phyllis said.

Besides canned and boxed food, the pantry also receives donations of perishable items that are given out, including fresh produce and frozen meat from local farmers.

Typically, they use monetary donations to buy bread and milk at the store, but this month, the milk was free.

“I called Seymour Christian Church when they were having their free giveaway of Prairie Farms milk,” Phyllis said. “They let us have 150 gallons of milk for our food pantry.”

A couple of weeks ago, the Seybolds picked up a generous donation of chicken from Tyson Foods, and the timing was perfect because they were running low.

“The Tyson folks are just wonderful and donated a ton of chicken,” Chuck said. “It was a little over 2,000 pounds of chicken, and that’s just the way things work around here, and it’s a real blessing.”

Last Tuesday, they served around 40 families or 120 to 130 individuals, which is a little less than normal. Families are limited to one visit to the pantry per month.

Even though the pantry currently has a good amount of food on the shelves and in the freezers, there are some items that the pantry goes through faster than others, so donations are always appreciated.

Those needed items are canned fruits and vegetables, saltine crackers, flour, sugar, salt and cooking oil. They can always use peanut butter and jelly, too.

“As the seasons change, so does the pantry list,” Chuck said. “When the weather cools down, we’ll be giving out more canned soups and also items like tomato juice for making chili and vegetable soup.”

Chuck said for their first year of being co-directors of Provisions, he thinks they’re doing mighty fine, and as long as there are hungry people, they are going to feed them.

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What: Community Provisions of Jackson County food pantry

Where: 107 W. Bruce Street, Seymour

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. Tuesdays

To make a donation or learn about eligibility: 812-522-7079


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