“We look at this as an outreach,” said Mandy Himes, founder of the non-food pantry located at Community of Hope Church, a Grace Brethren church in Columbia City, Ind. (Jeremy Wike, pastor). “The people who come are cared about as [we know] they are there for a reason.”
At first the pantry included food items, but Mandy soon realized it was one of a number in the community that served the needy. She also recognized that minimal amounts of hygiene and cleaning items were available. “I noticed that the town had more than seven food banks, and I figured they had the same problem. So I did my research, and it was true,” Mandy said.
In learning about the lack of hygiene and cleaning item related donations within other community food pantries, Mandy decided to start a non-food pantry, a resource for hygiene and cleaning products.
The pantry at Community of Hope supplies people with a kit that contains a variety of cleaning and hygiene products including: toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, dish soap, and deodorant.
About about ten families a month are served and they are not required to prove they are in need. “We look at this as an outreach and don’t want to limit those who come. Those who come are there for a reason, and [we want them to know] they are cared for.”
Since February 2016, several volunteers have joined to help with distribute. About that time, the church began serving a brunch style meal as well. “Now families can come [enjoy] a meal and then pick up their kits,” Mandy said.
The non-food pantry is open from 10-11:30 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Donations can be delivered to Community of Hope Church in Columbia City, Ind. Find out more on their website. Send a letter of encouragement to firstname.lastname@example.org — by Grace Beight
Editor’s Note: Grace Beight is an intern at GraceConnect. She is a senior at Grace College and is from Amherst, Ohio.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.