Food pantry rises again

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, September 26, 2019

When a church, a nonprofit, a business and the community at large come together, great things will always happen, and the Suffolk community has proved that again.

The refurbishing and restocking of a local food pantry is probably one of the best news stories so far this week. However, it didn’t start out as a good story six months ago. The house in the 600 block of Mulberry Street where East End Baptist Church previously stored food for its food pantry outreach suffered a fire in the early morning of March 27. Thankfully, nobody was injured, but the food pantry needed either major renovations or a new location.

Many churches, like East End Baptist, see the feeding of the hungry as an essential part of their mission. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus teaches His followers that if they have fed the hungry, given water to the thirsty, invited in a stranger, clothed the needy or visited those who are sick or in prison, it is like they were doing it for Christ Himself. Many churches consider the meeting of these most basic needs to be something they should do before they seek to meet people’s spiritual needs.

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But the fire in March hampered East End Baptist Church’s ability to do that with this ministry they have been running faithfully for many years. Fortunately, this week, a whole bunch of people came together to help this ministry rise again.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore as well as the Food Lion Feeds’ “Great Pantry Makeover” program partnered with the church to make it happen. On Wednesday, they landscaped the new building and put a sign out front to help identify it to those who may need the services. They also cleaned the inside of the building and then organized a variety of food donated by Food Lion as well as food from the Foodbank.

More than 200 families every month rely on the East End pantry to help make ends meet, so it is an important resource for the community. Appreciation is due to East End Baptist Church and its pantry director, Yvonne Green; Food Lion Feeds Great Pantry Makeover; and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.

Food pantry service at the new location, 617 E. Washington St., will resume Oct. 10.