The Little Church with the Big Hands

Tucked back in the trees on a hill in Morgan County, sits a little church with about 50 members. The church was constructed in the late 1800’s and renovated with an addition in 1987. Their little food pantry was opened in 2012. When they started with Gleaners in the fall of 2015, their pantry was serving about 60 households, once a month for 2 hours. At that time, they were giving out pre-packed bags and boxes of food that included breakfast, lunch and dinner items to last 3 days.

Since November of 2015, they have increased their distribution to more than 200 households per month on average who can visit three times during the month. They have distributed more than 224,000 pounds in two years equaling 134,000 meals in each of the last two years. They are picking up donations at their local Walmart three times each week and have ample storage for what they receive. Each family is able to get 4 frozen meat items along with fresh produce and dry meal making items. The pastries and bakery items make for a nice sweet treat to add to the meal.

They also provide cleaning supplies, diapers and other non-food essentials at least once per month based on supply. Their volunteers are on hand at each distribution to let folks in up to two hours early and offer personalized client’s choice shopping with each client having a volunteer assigned to pack their boxes as they shop and help carry out to their car. This pantry will serve anyone who comes regardless of their location. They have never turned anyone away.

They are working to raise funds to construct a walk-in cooler/freezer outside of the church so they can handle more donations and hopefully get to a weekly distribution. This pantry is an excellent example of how a small church can make a big impact in their community by building capacity. With donated freezers and refrigerators and a lot of great volunteers, they have more than tripled their hours and households served. We were able to share data on how much they have grown with their volunteers. Their smiles told us how much that information meant to them. What we do here affects our extended community and helps feed those in the outer reaches all the way to a little church on a hill in Morgan County.