Giving Locally: Mt. Olive UMC Food Pantry Providing Groceries, Smiles, and Prayers

CFMC COVID-19 Emergency Fund in Action

Written By: Robin Reid

In Morgan County, we’ve experienced our fair share of crises that brought our family, friends, neighbors, and communities closer together as we helped each other find stability once more. Today, we’re faced with the COVID-19 crisis that’s keeping us apart, so everyone remains safe and healthy.

We don’t have to look very far to see that people have lost their jobs, become ill with the virus, or are working on the frontlines of keeping essentials (i.e. food) on the shelves and all are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.

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 individuals and families.

Boxes of food are loaded into wagons as people drive up to the Mt. Olive UMC Food Pantry to pick up essentials for their families.

“Since 2012, we have been meeting the physical and spiritual needs of people from all over Morgan County through our food pantry. We saw a need in our own congregation when someone was in poor health or was out of work. The majority of our members volunteer at the pantry, some have attended Mt. Olive most of their life, and they have always been generous and caring people,” said Mt. Olive United Methodist Church (UMC) Pastor Jeanine Burge.

When the pantry first opened, Burge and her team helped residents of the Wilbur area who were older and lived on a fixed income. Church members funded and stocked the pantry themselves and were able to provide non-perishable foods, like canned vegetables and boxed macaroni and cheese, to approximately 25-30 individuals and families during the first year. The pantry was open one Saturday morning each month.

In 2015, Mt. Olive UMC Food Pantry partnered with Gleaners Food Bank and has provided fresh produce, meats, bread, non-perishable items, breakfast foods, snacks, and beverages. When word spread about the pantry, the number of people and families served grew from 25 in 2012 to 124 this year.  Keep in mind these numbers represent only one person per family. The average number of people in each household is approximately five, according to Sharon Reid, a food pantry volunteer. “Working with Gleaners has allowed us to give out a better variety of foods, like meats, that help our families make complete meals,” said Reid.

According to Burge, some of the people they helped came back to volunteer at the pantry and started coming to church on Sunday mornings. “Our love and service for others extend beyond giving out food. Our first priority is to show the love of Jesus Christ by our actions and words,” she added.

Now, thanks to the generous grant from CFMC, the Mt. Olive UMC Food Pantry can purchase additional food from Gleaners and other places, like Walmart, so they can help more people in need. Currently, due to COVID-19, the pantry operates every 12 days as a drive-thru service where a box of food, per car, is delivered by volunteers wearing masks and gloves.

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 five 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.

1 reply
  1. Tom Meeks
    Tom Meeks says:

    Keep up the good work. So many people filter through our lives. we may not be able to share the Gospel in word but our actions can make a difference. If folks are responding to our actions as the read us, it may be the only Bible they get to read!!

    Reply

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