Visiting the Pantry

Food, Homeless, Lifestyle

This page may be helpful to anyone requiring food pantry services, however, I’d like to preface with a reminder that my city, Winston-Salem boasts many food pantries and clothing closets free to those in need. I’ve compiled a calendar containing several of the pantries in the area.

Who Uses Food Pantries?

Food pantries are for those in need of food sustenance they cannot acquire by some other legal method. In the US, food pantries are often considered “supplemental” to an individual’s / family’s income-provided groceries OR as a secondary supplement to food stamps. The list of pantry-goers and food stamp beneficiaries ranges widely from the homeless job seeker to the hardworking individual who’s barely scraping by despite working long hours.

What should I bring to the pantry?

Bring your current…

  • …state issued ID and military / Veteran ID / discharge paperwork [Form DD-214] if applicable.
  • …up to 4 recent pay stubs or other proof of income – keep supervisor / hiring manager name / phone number handy just in case [please don’t worry, you shouldn’t need it].
  • …utility / rent bill OR your lease [proof of address].
  • social security numbers for the whole household.
  • wheeled cart, bags or boxes to get your pantry items home.
  • …a good book, some busywork or a portable phone charger in case you have to wait awhile.

Do I need a special card / ID to gain access to a food pantry? 

Pantries that require a card ask that you fill out paperwork during your first visit there and you usually get the card before you leave with your food that day. Be sure to keep these safe.

Some pantries do require a bit of upfront paperwork. A couple of noteworthy ones local to me are Crisis Control Ministries and Sunnyside Ministries. Please note that per their website, Sunnyside offers full food and some financial services ONLY to zip codes 27107 and 27127 in Winston-Salem, NC. Please see this webpage for more information on services and assistance they offer.

What if I’ve no way to get to the pantry & cannot afford public transit?

I recommend…

  • start with WSTA – according to their website, they do at times allow individuals one free ride in a day. You should offer to pay whatever you can, though. [During COVID-19, WSTA is providing free service; please thank your driver. Drivers are also providing masks to anyone who has forgotten theirs.]
    • Speak to the drivers, they don’t bite. You may be able to work something out for one day to go to one pantry — if this is possible, make it count by visiting the most generous pantry you’ve found.
  • if WSTA won’t help, reach out to Goodwill Industries to inform them of your circumstances. If you’re active duty military, a veteran, or dependent of either, be sure to mention that.
  • current / active duty military call Military One Source to request their advisement [veterans could do this as well, but keep in mind they are strictly a resource liaison].
  • veterans should call their VA sponsor to ask about a duty driver or someone affiliated with the VA to help them to and from pantries.
  • anyone else should call Forsyth County DSS or ask 211 for their advisement.

As always if you’re aware of any updates or edits to this page, please feel free to email me.