To provide supplemental assistance to Fayette County residents who are experiencing financial hardship
Note: The cities of Flatonia and Schulenburg operate their own local food pantries. Residents of these cities are encouraged to use their community facilities. Flatonia and Schulenburg residents who come to the La Grange pantry will receive a smaller amount of food than other clients due to the availability of local assistance.
AMEN was formed as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation by a group of local churches, and has since become a partner agency with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. The churches' intent in establishing AMEN was to create a faith-based organization that would pool the community's resources and coordinate food assistance for Fayette County residents in need. The church pastors gathered on December 10, 1991, to make plans. At that first meeting, they:
* Approved AMEN's Certificate of Incorporation for submission to the State of Texas,
AMEN was officially incorporated on January 31, 1992.
Each church designated one person to serve on the board of directors. The board met often in early 1992 and set up committees to look for a building location, plan for funding, establish volunteer guidelines and decide how to implement the pantry. They targeted August 3, 1992, to open the pantry and held an official grand opening event on October 5, 1992.
Eight families came to AMEN for help in August 1992. By the end of the year, that number had grown to more than 80 families per month. AMEN now serves about 200 families every month. Twelve churches participate in AMEN's mission, each providing a board member and volunteers who do a variety of tasks. AMEN's operation requires between 15 and 20 volunteers every week. The organization is operated solely by volunteers - there are no paid employees.
The board of directors has remained committed to continually evaluating AMEN's services and how the needs of the community can best be met. After the first few years, the board recognized that Fayette County residents were in need of more than just help with groceries. So AMEN implemented rent and utility assistance programs.
By 2009, AMEN's client base had grown so much that an additional interview office was needed. Volunteers from Holy Rosary Church in Hostyn offered to provide the labor to reconfigure the building.
Construction of the new interview office was completed in 2010.
In 2011, the board decided that other community agencies were more qualified than AMEN to screen applicants for rent and utility assistance. So it was decided to take AMEN back to basics and return the focus to food assistance, as had originally been planned. Arrangements were made to refer applicants needing help with rent and utilities to Combined Community Action in Giddings. In December 2011, AMEN began sponsoring a monthly mobile food pantry. The intent was to reach rural clients who might not be able to travel to the La Grange pantry.
In 2012, AMEN implemented a Client Choice operating model. Up until then, AMEN volunteers pre-bagged the food and applicants all received the same items. The only difference was the quantity, which varied, depending on family size. Since it's not possible to accurately predict what food each family wants and will use, some of the food was being wasted. By changing to Client Choice, applicants took control of their food selections, choosing the items they wanted. Food was shelved according to type, like protein, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Depending on family size, each client could choose a certain number of items in each category. This allowed clients to take more control over the type of food their family would eat.
In response to the economy's continuing recession and high unemployment rates, AMEN increased the amount of food given to pantry clients in 2013.
In 2014, a refrigerator and freezer were donated to AMEN so that the pantry could begin offering meat, dairy and produce. That proved to be so beneficial to clients that AMEN purchased commercial size cooler/freezer units. This substantially increased the amount of perishable food that can be kept on hand.
In 2015, AMEN joined Wal-Mart's Feeding America program. This allows AMEN to pick up a variety of both perishable and non-perishable food items each week from the La Grange Wal-Mart. Plans are currently being made to begin a similar program with the La Grange H-E-B.
AMEN received from CAFB an additional Freezer with monies that were provided from Wal-Mart