Local ministry opens new food pantry

On January 27, the congregation of New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church will open their new food pantry.

Local ministry opens new food pantry
January 10
10:17 2019

On January 27, the congregation of New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church will open their new food pantry. The church purchased new land to fulfill the need for food in their surrounding area.

The food pantry idea came from then-pastor Rev. Dr. Samuel J. Cornelius back in 2003. “He said that God had revealed to him that the churches would have to assume this responsibility more and more, and from this vision and revelation was born the New Jerusalem Food Pantry,” the church said in a statement.

“Dr. Cornelius told us years ago that the church was going to have to be the new welfare, because many of the politicians don’t care about the hungry and the poor,” said Joyce Paul, event planner. “He told us that the church was going to have to be the ones that feed the people.”

In 2003, New Jerusalem purchased a duplex apartment building on North Dunleith Ave. for the purpose of opening a food pantry. The duplex was converted and upgraded to meet city standards. 

The church opened their pantry in 2004. They initially served 3,300 meals per month. As of 2017, the church was serving more than 61,000 meals. The church needed the new facility to accommodate the rising growth of those in need, to allow for more storage, prep space and equipment.

“His (Cornelius) vision was to have a food pantry in the community, because they have so many on the other side of town, but we need one here,” she said. “So, we bought those houses and we started the pantry.

“Ever since Dr. Cornelius retired in 2014, Rev. Ronald Speas has come in with the same mentality of feeding the needy. He is as dedicated to the food pantry as Rev. Cornelius,” said Paul.

Approximately 60 percent of the food supply for the pantry comes from the Second Harvest Food Bank, where the church purchases some food, while other food is donated. The remainder of the food is provided by local and private donations, along with outright purchases from the church.

The church pantry is open every Monday night and helps over 150 families per day. The church does not restrict the food needs based on the size of the families, so the amount of food varies per client.

Paul has been with the church for 35 years and has been involved with the pantry since its inception, especially since her husband was one of the individuals who helped start the pantry.

“It is a blessing to be a blessing to someone else,” said Paul. “We let the people know that it is not about our glory, it’s about the glory of God. He has commanded us to clothe the naked and feed the hungry, so we are only trying to be the hands and feet for God.

“We are also trying to let the people know that one day they can be on this side to help someone else out to pay it forward.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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