Event Recap: Chets Women Serve at Christ Church Food Pantry

Job losses during the Great Recession of 2009 impacted many Jacksonville families who had never before faced a financial crisis. Some were even forced to go without such basic needs as food. Many families could not be awarded food stamps because their prior reported income levels were too high, yet these families needed food right away.

Back CameraThat’s when Christ Church’s Kathy Clements and other members decided to do something for their own families who were so terribly impacted by the recession; and on June 20th, 2009, Christ Church Mandarin held their first ever food pantry event. They served just one family that first Saturday. Their next events served three families and then eight families and before long 100 families. The number of families they serve has increased ever since. As of June 8, 2013, Christ Church Food Pantry had served 10,480 families or 41,432 individuals. Most people will seek help from the food pantry two to three times until they get back on their feet. Others are disabled and cannot work at all.

Those needing food usually arrive around 7:30 a.m. Every family in the parking lot at 7:30 is given a numbered coupon the other half of which is placed in a container. The coupons are mixed and there is a drawing of 150 coupons. Each drawn number is matched to the ticket holder’s number and the holder is given a card numbered between 1-150. No additional numbers are given out and those 150 families are the food pantry’s clients for the day. Kathy Clements explained, “We don’t turn the other families away entirely. I ask for their I.D. and get their information and then they can get food a couple of days later.” This labor of love has Kathy working voluntarily almost 7 days per week.

Kathy Clements shared with me that as a child, she “grew up needy” and as a result she has a great deal of empathy for others suffering in the same way. Several people told me that Clements is the main force behind the success of the food bank but she is adamant that it is the power of the Holy Spirit that has fueled the success of this ministry. As of June 8, 2013, they have had 3,532 families ask for prayer and 75 families have come to Christ just from their interactions with the food pantry.

Back CameraChets Women and girls showed up at 8:45 to pray and receive our work assignments. It was so moving to see God’s hand at work as everyone gave their time for this beautiful cause. Alisha Calhoun (leader of the Unleash team) and I stood watching some adorable little girls who had formed a production line passing bags of food to fill carts. Overcome with emotion Calhoun gave her huge smile and with her adorable southern accent she said, “This just really makes my heart swell!”

There are no paid employees and the food pantry relies solely on volunteers. The pantry is only open 24 times per year and Clements explained if everyone would volunteer just once, they would have more than enough manpower to keep things running smoothly. The food pantry needs volunteers to help distribute food, administer prayer and assist with general organizational matters. If you are interested in helping out at the food pantry please contact Carrie Shriver at cshriver2013@gmail.com.

Back Camera

Matt 25:35 & 40 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” The King will reply, Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.

{This article was written by Leslie Layton.  Leslie left the corporate world to pursue women’s ministry and she obtained her Master’s Degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She hopes to help women of all ages through her writing and her volunteer work.  Leslie oversees the Transformation and Discipleship portion of the women’s ministry leadership team.  She is currently involved two discipleship triads and she will be facilitating Bible studies in the fall on how to convene successful triads.  Leslie mentors grade school girls and volunteers at First Coast Women’s Services.  Leslie has been married to her husband, Charles for 10 years. She and  Charles have 3 grown daughters from his first marriage and they are parents to 2 special needs dogs, Chester and Gracie.}

5 thoughts on “Event Recap: Chets Women Serve at Christ Church Food Pantry

    • Hey Kim! I will get in touch with Carrie tomorrow regarding her email address. Once I get the corrected information from her, I will post it to the sight. So sorry for any inconvenience – the address I listed is what was given to me by one of the people overseeing Saturday’s events. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention.
      Leslie Layton

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