Harvest House in need of food for Christmas holiday and year to come

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After Thanksgiving, the shelves in the pantry at Harvest House Destin need restocking.

The mission of the Harvest House Food Pantry and Thrift Store on Mountain Drive in Destin is to provide food, clothing and shelter to those who are less fortunate.

Over Thanksgiving, with help from Coastline Church and Destiny Worship Center, Harvest House was able to feed 67 families. 

The families were provided with an all-inclusive Thanksgiving dinner, from the turkey to mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Lori Joyner, executive director of Harvest House, looks at an almost empty shelf of jelly. Jelly is just one of the many items Harvest House needs.

"We were blessed that we didn't even have to put any of those bags together," said Lori Joyner, executive director of Harvest House.

Nevertheless, Christmas and the new year are just a few weeks away and food is still needed to help feed those in the community.

"Right now, we have several people on that list for Christmas," Joyner said, noting they will feed about 80 families.

The Christmas food bags Harvest House provides look a bit different than Thanksgiving. They have such things as macaroni and cheese, baked beans, a cake mix for Jesus' birthday, frozen vegetables, Hawaiian rolls and a gift card.

There are some bare spots on the pantry shelves at Harvest House in Destin.

"We kind of up the ante for Christmas," Joyner said.

"But any way you slice it, we're needing food now and we're going to need food going into January and February," she added. 

She said people normally are good to give during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then in January, nothing. So she's trying to stock up for now and for the first of the year.

More:March 2016 - PHOTOS: Three decades of Harvest House

Harvest House is accepting food or money donations.

"If people want to shop for us, that's good ... that saves us time and energy and manpower. But on the other side, if they want to just donate money, that helps us to go and make the purchases," Joyner said.

Items needed to help restock the pantry are mac and cheese, spaghetti sauce, canned chicken, Hamburger Helper, mashed potatoes, canned mixed vegetables, cereals, canned fruit, pancake mix and syrup.

"I need jelly desperately," Joyner said as she pointed to an almost bare shelf.

"And crackers are always good," she added. 

"This food goes to people in our community that we serve ... from Destin out to Mack Bayou in Miramar Beach," Joyner said.

"We serve individuals and families that are in need of food. They come and talk to us and we help them," she said.

Related:Volunteer spotlight: Finding hidden treasures at Harvest House

However, with the coronavirus pandemic things have been a bit unusual for Harvest House and how it likes to serve.

"It's been totally different for the Harvest House, because we usually have conversations with everybody who comes in. We talk and we pray with people," Joyner said.

But this year that hasn't been possible because of the virus and the social distancing that is required.

Bags of food are packaged and ready for pickup at Harvest House.

"It's different. We're not that kind of food pantry that says here's your food ... but we kind of are right now" because of the virus, Joyner said.

Currently, people can call Harvest House and volunteers will prep the food for them in bags, put the bags in shopping carts where people can just pull up and get their bags without contact.

People who cannot call can stop by the Harvest House.

"We'll talk to them and then fix everything up for them," Joyner said.

"It's just been a different year, and it's not who we are as a Harvest House ... but we're doing the best we can," she said.

More:Dec. 2019 - Harvest House staff, volunteers give back

"I'm so grateful for our staff and our board. Everyone has always rallied around the Harvest House and we've had some good groups that have donated," Joyner said.

"God is good. He always provides for us," she added.

The Harvest House is at 300 Mountain Drive in Destin. Store hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the food pantry hours are 10 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday. For more information, call 837-2277. 

The last day to pick up Christmas bags is Dec. 17. Harvest House will be closed after Dec. 18 to Jan. 4.