Church food pantry ensures
|The food pantry at University Park United Methodist Church has instructions so anyone at the church can help someone in need. Photo by Jeanne Knepper|
'no one will leave hungry'
University Park United Methodist Church in Portland, Ore., has a unique approach to its food pantry. A staff member working late one night encountered a homeless man in need, and realized that giving him canned goods was of little help.
He and other members began bringing in frozen dinners to leave in the church freezer. The congregation adopted a protocol so any member could help someone in need. Members are instructed to ask what the guest needs and to meet that need, be it a hot meal, groceries, a blanket, warm socks or a coat, or photocopied information. Requests for money are referred to one of the pastors.
Facilitators of groups that meet in the church building are also instructed to help anyone in need while they are meeting there.
The church's commitment is printed in every Sunday bulletin: "Please don't go hungry. We have food in our pantry. Take what you need."
Members make sure the pantry never empties, regularly buying groceries for restocking. Those who travel frequently bring back small toiletries. Twice a year, the church hosts a month-long food drive, bringing non-perishables to the altar each Sunday.
--The Rev. Jeanne Knepper, pastor
At A Glance: University Park United Methodist Church | 4775 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR 97203 | (503) 289-7843 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.upumc.net | Pastor: The Rev. Jeanne G. Knepper | Average Attendance: 40 | Oregon-Idaho Conference