Common Cupboard


Loving our neighbors

Common Cupboard

Common Cupboard is a food pantry established in 2006 by Common Heart. It is a community resource powered by a cadre of caring people reaching out to serve neighbors in need. More than 350 hungry families each month receive about a week's worth of groceries delivered with love by someone who cares. An additional 300 families each month receive food from our traditional pantries, Common Cupboard at Mill Grove and at Union UMC.

  We do some things a little different than most food pantries. It has a lot to do with why we got started and our desire to equip people to serve, hands on. 

  • How did Common Cupboard Start?

    Common Cupboard came about because we regularly came into contact with people who could use a little help. For whatever reason – possibly a family crisis, unemployment or illness – they had difficulty meeting their needs. Often they were single parents or people who due to illness or a fixed income just needed a little help. You know people like that too. We helped out the best we could by grabbing an extra bag of groceries at the store or going to our own pantries or cupboards and giving what we could to help. It dawned on us that if we pooled our resources of money and groceries, along with donations from community businesses and organizations, we could help a lot more folks and equip others to reach out through active kindness too. 

  • Why do we deliver Groceries to Homes?

    Why do we deliver groceries to homes rather than having those in need come to a central location? While distribution from a central location is convenient, we feel that it sets up an institutional mentality that we desire to avoid. By visiting people, developing relationships and seeing needs first hand, we can make a difference in a way that we couldn’t from an institutional approach. Using a “central distribution” model would not facilitate this as well as visiting families in their homes. It may take time and energy, but we believe it is worth it.

  • How do we chose who to deliver to?

    Because Common Cupboard has been designe to facilitate personal service, this does not happen in the usual institutional way. Our delivery program is based on relationships. So, generally one of our volunteers or church partners finds out about a family in need.  We provide groceries to them to serve this hungry family for as long as the need exists.  It is rare that we add a family to a delivery route directly. Basically, it happens because someone cares enough to personally deliver to a neighbor in need.  

  • Why do we seek out Church Partners?

    We believe that people helping people has much more positive potential than an organization or agency giving handouts. Because of this philosophy, we want to keep Common Cupboard in the background and invisible to those receiving our assistance. We enable faith communities and individuals to reach out into the community without having to "reinvent the wheel." This is why we reach out to local churches to be part of Common Cupboard. We are able to help them equip their own members to reach out personally with love and kindness.

  • Where do we get the Groceries we deliver?

    Volunteers, churches, businesses and other organizations in our community help out!  Some help by organizing food drives. This is a favorite of church youth groups, schools and homeowners associations. Other individuals and businesses give tax-deductible financial gifts. We rescue food from grocery stores and other food-based businesses in our community that would otherwise be thrown away.  We also are an agency of Second Harvest of Metrolina, our region's food bank.  About 25% of our groceries come from Second Harvest.

FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES

Foundational Principle #1 Common Cupboard is a pooled resource. The whole community is encouraged to pitch in to create this community resource. Those who use the cupboard as a means of serving others help keep it stocked through financial giving, as well as helping to run food drives as needed. Additionally, local faith communities will also support the cupboard through giving and occasional food drives. Lastly, local businesses, homeowners associations, schools and other community groups are encouraged to help keep the cupboard stocked. 


Foundational Principle #2 The second principle is what we call “invisibility.” We strive to keep Common Cupboard in the background, ideally invisible to those we serve. Our desire is that people see a follower of Jesus or a local church congregation helping them. Therefore, we do not talk about an organization, food ministry or program. If asked, we say ‘My friends and I are glad we can help."


Foundational Principle #3 The third principle is serving in “such a way” that God’s love is demonstrated. We give with no strings attached. We eliminate the institutional and emphasize the relational. There are no forms for a person in need to fill out, no invasive questions and no lines to stand in. What there is, are some friends and neighbors wanting to demonstrate God’s love in a practical way. We have no agenda but to serve from a heart of love. We go as guests in the homes of the people we serve, serving them from the love of God. They lead us by asking questions. We are a listening ear and an encouraging friend, one who is ready when we are asked.


Great Turkey Countdown 2015

We Did it!

GOAL: 1,000 Turkeys & the trimmings

GOAL: 1,000 families to RECEIVE delivered FOOD

400 volunteers NEEDED

Great Turkey Countdown

WE DID IT TOGETHER!!  1,000 Turkeys for 1000 families for Thanksgiving meals in 2015?

If you like us on Facebook, you'll see the call go out in late October: “The Great Turkey Countdown has begun …. Who will give me the first turkey?” And with this the 8th annual  Great Turkey Countdown will have begun.   

Every year since 2007, our friends have banded together and delivered frozen turkeys with all the  fixin’s to local families in need. In 2015, we will gather to be a blessing to our neighbors on  Saturday, Nov. 21 with a goal of delivering 1,000 turkey meals.   

How can you help?

It takes more than 200 volunteers donating their time every month to serve the 350 families the Cupboard helps each month. Volunteers rescue groceries 7 days a week, stock shelves and pack boxes. More than 120 of these volunteers visit their neighbors in need and deliver the needed groceries. Regularly, someone is bringing in donated groceries to stock our shelves, or mobilizing their friends or co-workers to gather groceries in a food drive. And, of course, we always need financial donations to keep the freezers going and the truck running!


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