BIG RAPIDS — Faith Community Church hopes to provide more than just food for empty stomachs through its food pantry, The Lord’s Table.

The pantry, run completely by volunteers through the basement of the church, 610 Green St. in Big Rapids, serves residents of Osceola, Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

In the past three years, the number of clients at The Lord’s Table has tripled. Currently, about 300 families receive food assistance from the pantry each month.

“We are getting an increase in clients, but we know there is a greater need,” said Sandy Kilpatrick, pantry director. “We just want people to know we are here, available and we want to help them.”

“There are an overwhelming number of people going through DHS and getting turned away because they are making too much money, but then they can’t pay their bills,” added Courtney Devroy, pantry volunteer. “We feed them to better their life, but besides food, we are telling them about opportunities in the community that could also help them, like jobs, job fairs, programs and available housing.”

Once a month, The Lord’s Table provides people in need with food based on family size, income and need. Clientele includes families with children, individuals, seniors, military, retired and part-time workers.

“We’ve had people who will sit at the table and cry because they are so embarrassed they have to come here and get food,” Kilpatrick said. “That shouldn’t be, because we are here to help. We help them out; get them through the hard times. Not everyone is going to use a pantry forever. Hopefully we will get them back on their feet, give them the support they need and then they can go on with their life. We are just here to make their life a little better, to stand in the gap and pick up the edges.”

No referral is necessary to become a client at The Lord’s Table; however clients must meet federal poverty standards. New clients are asked to bring drivers licenses and social security cards for all household members.

The Lord’s Table receives most of its funding through the United Way, Match Day and private donations. It purchases 90 percent of its food from Feeding America. Monetary donations as well as canned foods, fresh fruits, vegetables and personal care items can be dropped off at the pantry during its normal hours.

Volunteers always are welcome to load and unload the food truck, stock shelves and run the pantry, which is now open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays for new clients and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays starting March 19 for current clients.

For more information or to learn more about volunteering at The Lord’s Table, call (231) 796-8389.