COOLIDGE — The Hope International food pantry is now looking for a new place to call home.
A few months ago, Audri Warren of First Lady of Hope International Ministries and her husband, Pastor Anthony Warren, were notified that the building they have been using for the pantry, 220 S. Main St., had been listed for sale.
Then last week, they were informed that their lease would not be renewed.
The Warrens started the food pantry as a type of meals-on-wheels operation. After seeing what they described as considerable need in the Pinal County community, they decided to open a central location where individuals in need could have easy access to food boxes.
The pantry gives out food boxes every Thursday and every third Monday of the month. On a monthly basis, Warren estimates that the pantry services approximately 1,000 people county-wide.
Already stretched thin in terms of finances, and without means to purchase the building outright, now the food pantry may have to close its doors.
“We’re not in a position to purchase anything because we’re stretched so thin with the pantry, church and our own house,” Warren said. “Buying it is not even an option for us.”
The pantry has been asked to leave the building by the end of March.
The news that the pantry will have to vacate the property comes shortly after a van belonging to both the food pantry and the church was vandalized last month.
Although Hope International is currently in the process of seeking out a new location, the search has been less than fruitful, Warren said.
According to Warren, City Manager Rick Miller has already shown the pantry the few building options the city has available.
Those options, said Warren, were either too big or already sought out by other organizations.
Among the options the Warrens toured was a 4,000-square-foot building located on Coolidge Avenue. Affording electricity in a building like that, said Warren, would prove too difficult.
The building where the pantry is currently housed is about 700-800 square feet.
To make the pantry a little more functional, Warren was hoping to upgrade to a spacier location.
“We probably need close to 1,000 (square feet) at least,” she said. “But if we find something that is the same size, we’ll take it of course.”
Despite the struggles the pantry is currently facing, Warren stressed that moving out of Coolidge is not an option.
“We feel like we were sent here to help and we want to be here,” she said.
Hope International Ministries can be contacted at 520-233-6699.