Our body of believers is a small church that reaches out to its community in a big way. On the third Saturday of every month, we provide food for needy people in our area through our Open Cupboard ministry. Those who select items from the Open Cupboard also receive tracts, invitations to attend church, and spiritual-needs response cards. Church members follow up with food-pantry recipients listed on the response cards by visiting and phoning them and by praying for their needs.
With help from the Food Bank of South Jersey, our Cupboard recently received a $10,000 grant to provide food for more people. Through this program, the church currently serves one hundred families a month.
We are hoping to expand the program to include a Kids Café, an after-school program to help kids with homework and to feed them dinner Monday through Friday; a building expansion to meet more needs; and a backpack program to provide financially needy children with a pack of healthy, easy-to-prepare food to get them through the weekend. Our church has applied for an additional grant to purchase much-needed equipment such as freezers, refrigerators, and collapsible shopping carts. In the immediate future, we plan on expanding the Cupboard to provide laundry detergent, trash bags, toothpaste and brushes, deodorant, and basic clothing needs.
Our church has only thirty-five members, but we had been fully supporting the Open Cupboard ministry with little assistance until we received the grant. Approximately half the church members donate their time at the Open Cupboard in readying the items, making deliveries, and participating in the monthly outreach. We believe this ministry is from the Lord. Several new families have started attending our church as a result of the Open Cupboard ministry.
Kathy Belka, Open Cupboard Coordinator
Faith Baptist Church
Charles Robinson, Pastor
Erial, New Jersey