CFMC COVID-19 Emergency Fund in Action
Written By: Robin Reid
For over 50 years, Brooklyn Christian Church has not only fed souls with hope, love, and grace but has also helped many individuals and families put food on their tables. A small church with about 40 members, Brooklyn Christian has partnered with other local churches and agencies to ensure people struggling can get the help they need.
The Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) understands food insecurity is a real problem in our communities. That’s why we established the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support local food pantries that serve our most vulnerable and at-risk residents.
“Our food pantry actually started in a closet in the early 1970s. When we started serving more people, we had to move it to a bigger room. We were serving 20-40 families once a month,” said Charlene Pugh, Food Pantry Coordinator at Brooklyn Christian Church.
Shortly after the pantry opened, Brooklyn Christian partnered with other area churches, such as the Church of God, Nazarene and Latter-Day Saints (in Centerton) to collect food donations. They also received assistance from the local Trustee’s office and fire department. “The Brooklyn Boy Scouts have also been a great help to us,” Pugh added.
In the mid-1980s, the church signed up with Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis and was able to add different types of food to the pantry.
The Brooklyn Christian Church Food Pantry is open the first Tuesday and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Due to COVID-19 and the social distancing restrictions, boxes of food are assembled and delivered to vehicles via drive-thru at the church.
“When I order food from Gleaners or ask for donations, I try to pick foods that make a complete meal, such as chili and crackers. The pantry has canned vegetables and fruits, cereal, oatmeal, beans, soups, Kool-Aid packets, some meat like chicken, and other non-perishable items,” said Pugh.
Currently, the pantry serves approximately 12-20 families, but Pugh added those numbers might increase due to the pandemic forcing people to be laid off from work.
When asked how the pantry has made a difference in the last 50 years, Pugh said, “We offered a budgeting class for families one year. We taught them how to make their food stamps or money stretch at the grocery store. Five years later, one of the kids came to the church and told us that after his mom took the class, their family never went hungry again. His mom learned how to budget their money, buy groceries and make their food last longer.”
Supporting our local food pantries with emergency funding is a real solution to meet the needs of at-risk individuals and families. Currently, the grant funds are available for the next three weeks or as long as CFMC receives additional donations. We know the problem of food insecurity will continue to grow due to COVID-19. Be a part of this solution. Donate today at www.cfmconline.org.