Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Community News

February 25, 2013

A helping hand when times are tough

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Offering a helping hand when times are tough is what an Elmore City church has in mind in its push to establish a brand new food pantry for local residents.

Before members of the First United Methodist Church in Elmore can get started they are first turning to the public for help.

The church, located just north of the city’s four-way stop, will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.

“We’re accepting donations on that one day as a kind of kick off to start this food ministry,” said church pastor Brad Dery.

Dery is leaning to church member Suzanne Walker to lead a project they believe can lead to some special things.

“We just want to try to help our community,” Walker said.

“Just because we’re a small church doesn’t mean we can’t do big things,” she said.

The project has special meaning for Walker, an Elmore City graduate who hopes to be a part of helping those in her hometown.

Ironically it was another food related drive that convinced church members to think about starting up a food pantry in Elmore City.

Last year the church held a special day for people to come and receive a bag of potatoes.

The event was not only a big success it showed there was a bigger need out there.

“When we gave away all those potatoes last year we had a great response,” Dery said. “We gave away 2,000 pounds of potatoes in two or three hours. I never expected that.

“It told us there was a definite need. We had people asking us if we were going to do a food pantry,” he said.

“We decided to look into doing a food ministry. We want to allow people in Elmore City to have immediate access to emergency food. We want to meet that need at a local level.”

The effort as part of the church’s community outreach program will be called The Helping Hand Elmore City Food Pantry.

After the collection of non-perishable food items on March 2 the church is planning to begin offering the food pantry to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 23.

It will be open those same times on the fourth Saturday of the month. That will continue for four months before the church assesses the needs out there to determine if more is needed.

“After getting familiar with the needs we will adjust this accordingly,” Walker said about the food pantry.

“We just want to help our community.”

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