An Indiana church recently opened the state's largest food pantry that will benefit thousands of families each month and serve its community through workshops, aimed to help individuals in need gain fundamental life skills.
For years, Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Ind., has operated two food pantries in different locations. Now the new pantry, The Community Ministry Center, housed in a 15,000 square-foot facility, will combine the resources found in both locales to serve over 3,000 families each month.
"The vision for this ministry is to be able to offer classes that help with fundamental life skills, skills that will improve the quality of daily life for our clients," said Tracy Watson, the ambassador coordinator for Mount Pleasant, to The Christian Post. "Offering food and clothing will help meet their immediate needs, but we are looking forward to investing in their lives."
Currently, the unemployment rate in Johnson County, where the food pantry serves the needy, is 5.7 percent. Although the rate is one of the lowest in the state, there are plenty of individuals undergoing financial hardships that will have the opportunity to find help within the organization for clothing and other necessities, in addition to food.
The Community Ministry Center will also offer "life skill" classes, including budgeting and resume workshops, and will have the resources to help beyond their local community.
"As a super pantry, the CMC can also be called on to provide food and clothing relief in the event of a local crisis or natural disaster," said Watson.
The mega resource location, which will give people the opportunity to shop for their own food and clothes, used to assist 300 families each week when it operated as two pantries. Now, the ministry has partnered with Midwest Food Bank, another large-scale food resource organization, to serve as one of Indiana's main food distributors to other charities.
"Our partnership with Midwest Food Bank allows us to act as an extension of Midwest, supplying food to other smaller pantries and getting food relief deeper into Johnson County," said Watson.
Watson told CP that the Community Ministry Center has also partnered with grocery stores and restaurants that will supply them with food. They have also trained nearly 400 volunteers to serve at the facility who will provide the manpower to sort clothing donations, stock pantry shelves and help minister to the visiting families.
So far, numerous families have benefited from the new super pantry.
"Not only do those being served benefit, we also hear stories from our volunteers about how their lives have been impacted through serving," said Watson. "We are confident as God has led us to build this facility that He has great plans to use it to impact lives for eternity."