I had naively thought that our pantry was the only one in the Near Philadelphia area, and subsequently learned that several churches in the area have pantries and there is a large store-front community pantry in the town adjacent to ours.
Today I learned of yet another. And I am still trying to wrap my mind around what these people are doing.
My husband is an architect with a very small practice. He does a lot of different kinds of projects from home additions to clusters of condominiums. He also does a fair amount of church work -- making church buildings accessible, reorienting sanctuaries, providing additions. Recently he received a referral for a project for a small church located in the least affluent part of our township. It's a Seventh Day Adventist congregation, a denomination we don't know very much about.
These people have a food pantry of their own, and apparently it is nothing like the one pictured above. My husband visited and told me that it is in a building separate from the church, and in addition to the shelves and shelves of canned goods, there are numerous refrigerators and freezers. It is big. And it seems that the township -- or somebody else in authority -- has told the Adventists that they cannot continue their food pantry ministry because the building doesn't have a bathroom.
Undaunted, they have contacted this architect to help them figure out how to remedy this situation.
It is not a small feat to add a bathroom to a property that lacks one. And these Adventists understand that it is going to cost them several thousand dollars to meet this requirement.
They are so committed to their mission that they have not even considered closing their pantry because of the unanticipated expense.
Think about it: This congregation, because of where they are located, understands better than my congregation what it means to have a food pantry. They are far from a wealthy church. Certainly the contingency line in their budget is not sufficient to cover these costs.
However, they will raise whatever money is necessary to be allowed to continue their outreach effort to feed the hungry.
I can't help wondering whether my own church would be as dedicated.