New Source Of Help

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The shelves are well stocked with food,with canned goods stacked in rows.

    In a season of tight economic times, many are trying to make theirgroceries last as long as possible. But the Episcopal Church of theRedeemer in Brookhaven doesn’t want its shelves to remain full muchlonger.

    Full shelves aren’t the goal. Full stomachs are.

    “My hope is we can give it all away by end of the year,” saidchurch priest The Rev. Anne Matthews, referring to the church’sfood pantry.

    Church of the Redeemer began a food pantry in the spring of theyear, born out of the vision of church members.

    “There were some members of the church that felt like we needed afood pantry,” Matthews said of the pantry’s origin.

    Matthews maintains a discretionary fund that goes to support theneedy, but that is not enough many months.

    Martha Morgan helps organize food pantry donation, and she said thechurch was not satisfied referring people to other organizations orsimply saying, “Sorry, we can’t help you.” Hence, the pantry wasborn.

    “It grew out of the need,” Morgan said. “We didn’t have the fundsto help everyone.”

    After a light August, Matthews said demand has increased sinceSeptember. She believes the beginning of a new school year mighthave contributed to this, with the need for school supplies andclothes further cramping budgets.

    Matthews emphasized the church membership took up the idea andworked to make it happen and that church members also work tomaintain the pantry. There are several couples in the congregationthat will restock the pantry when supplies get low, according toMatthews.

    Church of the Redeemer will also soon get a little outside help inrestocking its shelves.

    The church’s food pantry will be among the recipients of The DAILYLEADER and the Bank of Brookhaven’s Holiday Food Pantry Drive.

    To participate in the food drive, members of the community maydonate money at the office of either business. All funds collectedwill be distributed equally among the local food pantries. BesidesChurch of the Redeemer, participating food pantries are St. FrancisAssisi/St. Vincent DePaul, the Martha Sykes Widows and OrphansCenter, the Greater Hope Foundation and Union Hall BaptistChurch.

    Redeemer’s food pantry may be relatively new, but there’s nothingnew about the church’s ministry to the community.

    At the end of the November, the church’s thrift store Angel’s Atticcelebrated nine years of activity.

    The thrift store provides low cost clothing – $1 per clothing item- and enables the church to support local aid organizations and itsactivities.

    “We try to put everything back into ministry somehow,” Matthewssaid, describing the goal of the church’s activities.

    Morgan, who also volunteers at Angel’s Attic, described the churchand its ministries as community minded.

    “You do what you can for your corner of the world,” Morgansaid.

    It’s important to Morgan that proceeds from Angel’s Attic go backinto local organizations.

    “We want it to stay in the community,” Morgan said. “These are ourfriends and neighbors.”