For Nordia Hoff, nourishment starts, but does not end, with sharing food. As the pantry coordinator at the Friendship SDA Church in Elmira, Nordia goes above and beyond to meet her community’s physical and emotional needs.
The pantry started during the pandemic to meet the magnified need for food support. With the Food Bank’s help, their pantry now has a selection of free grocery items, is open multiple times per month for on-site pickups, and is available at all times for deliveries. The low-income area surrounding the church is home to many residents with transportation barriers, in addition to generations of economic disenfranchisement. The deliveries have proven crucial.
“I don’t exclude anyone,” Nordia shares. “If somebody calls me and says they need groceries, I do whatever I can to get it to them. We’ve helped people who, until yesterday, had a good job, but today they are struggling. We have clients in our church community, and we have clients not in our church community. I’ve brought food to families that are home sick with COVID, to moms who have disabled children and can’t get around easily, to people who don’t have working cars. Whoever you are and whatever you are dealing with, I want you to know that we are here for you whenever you need us.”
Nordia is a member of the Food Bank’s Agency Advisory Committee and is committed to creatively serving the community. She previously worked in the mental health field and brings that experience to her current interactions with clients. “So many people are really struggling these days,” she says. “I would love to start hosting wellness seminars. We are small but growing. I hope to continue to increase the connections we have and support we provide to the people we serve. With help from the church team and the Food Bank, there is no limit to what we can do for our communities.”
Devin McLaughlin, a Programs and Partnerships Coordinator at the Food Bank, praises the pantry’s delivery services and the pantry coordinator’s dedication. “Nordia is a rock for her community. Along with the Friendship SDA Church, she makes the lives of everyone she serves a little bit brighter. It’s a joy to partner with such innovative grassroots groups, like what we are seeing in this community.”