When the small congregation of Everittstown United Methodist Church in Pittstown, NJ, opened an emergency mini-food pantry a few months ago, the magnitude of what a blessing it would be to so many whose struggles have been magnified by the coronavirus was likely lost at the time. But the small wooden structure that sits at the end of the driveway leading to the church’s parsonage now serves as a beacon of hope.
The mini-food pantry, also known as a “Blessing Box,” is the result of a few years of planning at this small church in Hunterdon County.
“We see the Blessing Box as our way of being the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Associate Pastor Alicia Grey, who began her service there on January 1 while also serving Pattenburg UMC. “We’re meeting their practical and immediate needs as well as their spiritual and emotional needs,” said Grey who added that the congregation has needed to restock the box twice as much since the onset of the coronavirus.
Grey was also quick to mention that the impetus for this project that allows people in the community to visit the box anonymously any time of day began before her arrival by Bette Mayers, vice president of the congregation’s church council.
“The pieces finally started coming together when one of our attendees volunteered to lend his expertise to making the project a reality,” said Mayers. “We wanted to offer a way to help supplement the more established food pantries in our local area. People in our community area who run out of vital necessities now have a place to go to obtain non-perishable items such as diapers, powdered milk, peanut butter and other food items. Our purpose is to fill in when local food pantries are not open.”
That “attendee” was Frenchtown resident Sarge Russell, who offered his expertise at putting the Blessing Box together. “He graciously provided the metal box which forms the heart of the mini-food pantry,” said Mayers.
A large piece of cedar wood provides both a shelf to support the box and a place where those using the emergency food pantry are able to pick out the items they need.
“We’re showing the community we love you and we want to help you,” said Grey who added that the box is the church’s “one small way it can transform the world” and give other churches a model to follow.
Everittstown UMC, who has its roots in the area’s long history as an agricultural center with families going back many generations, held its first online worship service on March 22. Grey said they are planning to expand its outreach by also offering Bible Studies online too.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Everittstown-United-Methodist-Church-1498230670446266/.