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Josh Stevens is the new director of Seven Loaves Food Pantry at The Storehouse of Collin County

 

Stevensshares the new structure for The Storehouse’s annual Thanksgiving Distribution, which enables the nonprofit to serve more families and engage more volunteers to help 

Josh Stevens, who began as the new director of the Seven Loaves Food Pantry at The Storehouse of Collin County in August, has always loved helping people. For the past 25 years, he has worked as an athletic trainer, helping those going through difficult times get back on their feet – a job he describes as similar to his new position at The Storehouse.

“In sports medicine as well as at The Storehouse, the goal is to help people get back on their feet, feel stronger, and experience transformation,” added Stevens.  In both fields you are always making needed adjustments. Weeks may consist of the same type of work, but all come with different variables, which can make them very different. As an athletic trainer you are always monitoring progress while making adjustments for recovery and strength. At The Storehouse weekly variables might include varying numbers of volunteers, different types and amounts of produce and other items to distribute, or even weather changes that can affect distribution and processes – all requiring decisions that are swift and effective.”

Stevens first learned about the work of The Storehouse in 2018 when his oldest son, who was then in the fourth grade, had to do a project for school on a nonprofit. This resulted in the father and son duo spending a morning shadowing The Storehouse’s Executive Director Candace Winslow through all the processes involved in providing food to hungry families each week, which proved to be quite educational and inspiring.

Stevens and his wife, Amanda, who worked at Highland Park United Methodist Church, once attended a Sunday School class at the church, which Candace Winslow taught. Following the class, Winslow and the couple engaged in a conversation about faith and life, which made an impression on Stevens.

In the spring of 2022, Winslow reached out to Stevens to share that the position of food pantry director at The Storehouse would be coming available and inquired if he knew of anyone who might be interested. The previous food pantry director, John Horan, had come out of retirement to take the position in 2021 and planned to stay for only one year but ended up staying for almost two.

Stevens thought of a contact he knew who might be interested in the position but thinking back to his experiences at The Storehouse and his conversations with Winslow, it was not long before he was thinking about the position for himself. After many hours of thought and prayer he decided to make a change in his life and take the position.

“A pastor once told me that your calling is the intersection of what makes your heart beat and what makes your heart break,” said Josh Stevens. “I have found that intersection at The Storehouse of Collin County. It absolutely breaks my heart that there are 650 families come to get food at The Storehouse twice a week. I knew that serving at the Storehouse was exactly where I needed to be.”

For Stevens, a typical week at The Storehouse is from Tuesday to Saturday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, The Storehouse receives food deliveries, inventories items, and estimates a specific number of bags to prepare. Volunteers help sort the items and prepare the individual bags for families so that all items are ready for distribution on Thursdays, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Fridays, sorting and bagging preparations take place again to prepare for the Saturday distribution, from 8:30 – 11 a.m. Approximately 100,000 pounds of food comes in and goes out of The Storehouse each week.

“We could not have found a more perfect person for food pantry director than Josh Stevens, who has seamlessly joined our Storehouse team and become a valued and beloved contributor,” said Candace Winslow, executive director, The Storehouse. “His deep faith and commitment to helping others is evident each day as he serves our neighbors with the empathy, encouragement and engagement we value as an organization.”

Stevens is now busy preparing for the holiday season with the team. This year, The Storehouse plans to extend its Thanksgiving Distribution over a three-week period during the regular Thursday and Saturday food pantry distribution days, beginning on November 3 through November 19.

“Not only will this additional distribution time allow The Storehouse to serve the larger numbers of families coming for food, but it will also engage the help of more volunteers wanting to serve during the holiday season,” added Stevens. “We need to fill 669 volunteer spots over three weeks to serve a total of 4,000 to 4,500 families.”

Additionally, due to the supply chain and cost issues surrounding turkeys this year, The Storehouse will be providing chicken as well as fish as well as more side items than in past years. 

“The turkeys are scarce this year not only due to supply chain issues but also because of a national outbreak of avian flu that has spread across the United States,” added Stevens. “Additionally, inflation is affecting the cost of sides and staples needed. The Storehouse plans to provide more side items this year than in past years. Additionally, we invite the community to sign up to volunteer through our website, at https://www.thestorehousecc.org/volunteer-sign-up.”

“We obviously could not serve these families without the generous support of others as well as the many volunteers who make it all happen,” added Stevens. “Thank you to everyone whose love for our neighbors will help The Storehouse feed thousands of grateful families this Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for your help during the holiday season as well as throughout the year.”

A lifelong resident of Dallas, Stevens and his wife, Amanda, live in Lake Highlands with their two sons, Brady, 13, and Tucker, 11. Stevens went to Richardson High School, where he first began serving on the sidelines taking care of injured athletes. With a passion for helping others and a love of sports, he attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) for his undergraduate degree and University of Tennessee, where he received a master’s in sports medicine. He interned with the Dallas Cowboys and worked at SMU for ten years. For the past seven years, he worked as an athletic trainer at Scottish Rite Hospital.

To volunteer or donate to The Storehouse, visit https://www.thestorehousecc.org/

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The Storehouse of Collin County provides short-term assistance and long-term transformation to residents of Collin County in need through the Seven Loaves Food Pantry, Joseph’s Coat Clothing Closet, Project Hope Neighbor Care, and The Academy Education Program. The nonprofit was founded in 2009 by St. Andrew United Methodist Church under the name of Seven Loaves Community, which provided food pantry staples and grew over the years to meet a variety of needs. Over 3,000 families on average access Seven Loaves each month. The Storehouse provides clothing at no cost through Joseph’s Coat as well as counseling and case management through Project Hope. The Academy provides free and reduced-cost classes to assist with language, job, or life skills development. Visit www.thestorehousecc.org. The Storehouse EIN: 27-1883333

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