“Friends Share Friends”: The Saluda Pop-Up Warehouse Returns
13:54, Monday, January 23, 2023
Operations Manager Diane Land (left) and Thayer Fleming.
SALUDA – The Saluda Pop-Up Pantry, a 501(3)c charity, has grown in size and operations over the past few years. This organization helps the community by providing free food to local families in need, along with friends who support them when they need it most. Thayer Fleming, who started the Church of the Transfiguration, took over the operation in 2019.
The Pantry soon partnered with Manna Food Bank, an organization that receives donated food from various food stores, and it initially opened a store on Apple Mill Rd. It soon moved to its current location at 54 Carolina St. in Saluda, a storage room behind the Saluda Presbyterian Church, nicknamed “Shoppers’ Corner.”
From there, approximately eighty volunteers work to provide shoppers visiting the warehouse with access to high-quality food products, including healthy and fresh food sourced locally from our area’s farms.
“It’s a lot about friends and camaraderie,” operations manager Diane Land said earlier this week. “Our volunteers enjoy their work, and it’s a happy place for everyone, full of hugs.”
The Saluda Pop Up Warehouse is located at 54 Carolina Street in Saluda, just behind the Saluda Presbyterian Church.
In 2021, the Saluda Pop-Up Pantry distributed over 125,000 pounds of food to our community. The warehouse is able to purchase produce directly from local farms in the area, helping to support about ninety households in the community, which make up about three hundred people.
Saluda Garden Club even offers fresh cut flowers during the spring and summer months, and Thanksgiving centerpieces and wreaths at Christmas to add to the shopper’s holiday spirit. During the pandemic, they were limited in what they could do, but dozens of volunteers helped by stuffing boxes that shoppers would pick up later.
“We would be nothing without volunteers like Diane,” shared Fleming. “I also want to thank all of our partners, Saluda Presbyterian Church, our volunteer coordinator, Jane Ella Matthews, and Susan Casey for working with local farms to help us get the best produce possible.”
The Saluda Pop-Up Pantry donates shelf-stable items during the winter, as well as personal hygiene items and blankets and coats. She always focuses on healthy, nutritious foods like low-sodium, low-sugar products.
Shoppers can access healthy food at the Saluda Pop-Up Pantry.
Those interested in volunteering at the warehouse can find more information here www.saludapantry.com. The organization is always looking for people with unique talents and skills in marketing, grant writing or strategic development. They even have a nurse, Patty Martin, who volunteers to provide medical advice and help educate shoppers.
“The brewery’s motto is ‘friends share with friends,’ and it all fell into place,” Fleming said.
The Saluda Pop-Up Warehouse is open on Tuesdays from 13:00 to 18:00