By Shelby Hodge
The Junior League of Houston Pantry has long been a go-to staple for tasty comfort foods. Today, in light of restaurant closures due to COVID-19, The Pantry has become an even more meaningful resource for takeout as well as for funding, which has otherwise dropped dramatically due to the enforced closure of the League’s Tea Room.
“We realized that our to-go style meals meet an even bigger need in the community during this time,” Junior League Houston president Jayne Johnston tells PaperCity.
In a genius move, The Pantry has also added adult libations.
“The Quarantine Quenchers menu has also been a favorite addition,” Johnston added. “Who would have ever thought you would be able to drive through the Junior League to pick up margaritas and beer.”
The Pantry has also expanded hours with food, ordered online on the website, picked up in the garage drive-through station between 1:30 and 4:30 pm Mondays through Fridays on orders placed by 12:30 pm on the day of the requested pick-up. (Previously, The Pantry was open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm.)
Good news for fans of The Pantry staples: Always available are bestsellers chicken tetrazzini, King Ranch casserole, pasta Bolognese, and the famous to-die-for breakfast sausage tart. There are also menu specials that change daily.
“Sales from The Pantry have increased dramatically. While this cannot make up for the lost revenue from our banquet/event/dining business, it’s a fantastic way for us to provide work for our dedicated employees and provide a service to our community,” Johnston says.
The Pantry typically provides $200,000 annually for League programs, which represents only seven percent of food revenue. But sales are up and growing from an average month of $17,000 to $23,000.
All revenue to JLH helps support the mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
“Each purchase form The Pantry not only supports our dedicated and loyal staff,” Johnston says, “but also ensures that the League is able to fulfill our purpose of ‘Building a Better Community.’”
Source: April 17, 2020, Paper City Magazine, Shelby Hodge