bluegrass, it's been a few years, but i'll try to remember what all the paperwork included. it was a short form, nothing major. on it were the following, but maybe some other things that i forget...
name, address, number of household members.
how many of those household members are senior citizens, and how many are young children.
does the household have means of refrigeration and a way to cook? (many people were either homeless, or their power was cut off, and obviously we wouldn't give them things that would spoil or go to waste.)
are there any special dietary concerns? (for example, we would try to make sure that diabetics got some sugar free items)
below the standard stuff, we would have a small notation that we occasionally had special items on hand, and ask them to list any specific needs such as pet food, toiletries, paper goods, etc.
we did NOT ask for social security numbers, but we did ask for a DL or state ID number on their paperwork.
we kept track of the paperwork so we could make sure people weren't getting groceries every time the doors opened... although we did make exceptions under certain circumstances. for instance, homeless people could get groceries any time they were there... of course, their groceries were a lot more limited than the average persons. they generally got beef jerky, canned meats like vienna sausages, canned beans, crackers, that sort of thing.
it's important to note here that when we started, it was a very tiny pantry with nothing more than donated canned goods... it grew astronomically in the first two years. it was a few months in before someone decided to start bringing a crockpot of food to feed, and at first it really just fed the handful of volunteers. but by the end of the second year, things looked way different, and we were getting 100+ people coming through the doors during the two hours that we were open twice a week. our volunteer numbers escalated too... some doing community service, but mostly made up of people who had received help, and they wanted to give back. we got a lot of financial contributions from outside of the church, and there was also a donation bucket that the people who came through our doors often put whatever change they could spare into. we also did fundraisers for the food pantry.
it wasn't until after the first year that we were getting a lot of meats, dairy and produce. the 'customers' were only allowed to select their own produce and breads... and then it was with the assistance of a volunteer. the 'customer' would specify what they wanted, and a volunteer would bag it up. everything else was kept in a room where two or three workers filled the "orders". (the paperwork that was filled out would go back to that room, and volunteers would fill the bags according to the specific names, then someone else would call the name on the paperwork and ensure they got the right bags that had been filled for them. for an average family of four, they'd usually get about three bags. that's not a whole lot of food, but it would feed them for a couple of meals.)
here is an article that was written up in the local newspaper there a couple of years ago... and here's a couple of graphs that will help you visualize things. be sure and check out the newspaper article though... it has a few more photos of the interior so you can get a feel for how so much is packed into such a tight space.
and a photo of the line of people waiting to be served... you can see from the pics of the outside that the building is very small. if there are more than three volunteers at a time in the kitchen area they'd be crawling over each other. the church actually has two buildings... the one where the food pantry service takes place is the children's education building... it's the one in the forefront of the photo, where people are lined up to come in thru a side entry. it has two large main rooms... on food pantry days, one room is where people enter, submit their paperwork, and get their produce & bread. behind that main room is a nursery, behind which is a storage room. the storage room is where the main bulk of the food is kept. it's not very big. only two people can work in there at a time. the nursery is used as a staging area... once the bags are filled, they're passed up to the nursery, where they are held until yet more volunteers can locate and give it to the customer... who may have been outside eating a plate full of food, or getting a shower, or rummaging through the clothing goods.
a small hallway leads between that first area and the 'dining room'... on one side of the hallway is the serving window from the kitchen, and on the other side of the hallway is the bathroom/shower. it gets very crowded in that hallway as the line moves through there into the dining area... in the dining area (which is the children's church sanctuary), there is enough tables to seat about 30 people. at one end there are long tables set up with desserts and fruits. on the other end, the worship band squeezes their equipment in.
the majority of people go outside to eat. the back yard of the church has several canopies set up to shade dozens more tables and chairs, and to protect people from the rain. the washer and dryer are also out there, under the awning of the building. once or twice a month in nice weather, the bbq grill is fired up, and the customers get bbq for lunch instead of having to eat from the kitchen.
between the children's education building where the food pantry business takes place, and the other building (which is the main sanctuary and office), there is a covered breezeway. this is where donated clothing and household items are set up for people to look through and take what they want. you can see the people lined up past the main sanctuary building, and a little bit of the cover over the breezeway, in the photo above.
all of the hot meals, whether grilled or oven baked are made using food items that the pantry obtains through the city's food bank warehouse, which in turn is supplied by the local grocery stores and casinos. (that's one of the benefits of food pantries in vegas... the casinos contribute probably as much food as the grocery stores do!)
i hope that helps... feel free to ask for any more details. if you'd like, i can see if i can put you in touch with tiny and michelle, the assistant pastor and wife team who currently manage the pantry there. they aren't very tech savvy, but they can use a telephone... and they may be able to help give you pointers on setting one up at your church.