The Church of the Good Samaritan in Amelia has been running their feeding program and emergency pantry for the past seven years. In regular times, this community ministry served a free nutritious meal on the last Friday of each month. It is was an opportunity for clients who were “just getting by” to spend time with other people as well as enjoy a good meal. Most of their clients are elderly and/or handicapped persons who live in nearby housing complexes; some are caring for young people. The pantry is “open” whenever someone lets a church member know that a family needs food or personal care items.
The past year has been challenging one for this small congregation: people in need have steadily risen, while at the same time 3 of their dedicated volunteers died, and 3 more had serious illnesses. This was BEFORE the coronavirus hit. “The Holy Spirit appears to be continuing to inspire us,” wrote Senior Warden Dena Morris on their 2019 ECM grant application. “We are committed to serving our neighbors/guests for as long (and as well) as possible.”
Little did she know what new struggles this ministry would be facing when Covid-19 made gathering for a community meal impossible. Peter Tennant, the new point person for Good Samaritan’s feeding ministry, sent an update on how they have adapted their program to safe serving:
We decided to cancel our supper for March as we couldn’t think of a way to serve a meal without disobeying the Governor’s directive and putting the health of our servers and guests at risk. We decided, however, that, given the need in the community, it was important to somehow distribute items from our food pantry.
We decided to alter procedures – instead of setting things out and letting our guests take what they wanted/needed, we made up bags. The bags included food, soap, shampoo, toilet paper and dish detergent. We posted on our sign that the distribution would take place this past Friday 3/27 (our normal supper night) from 5 – 6pm. Only one couple showed up – their first visit to our pantry. Nancy St. Clair delivered the remaining bags to Thomaston Woods (where a number of our regular guests reside), to some parishioners who we know to be in need, and to the county homeless shelter.
It is likely that we will again be unable to hold our supper in April. With more time to plan ahead, I hope that we can come up with a better plan for food distribution; I will let you know how we decide to proceed. Thank you so much for your support.
Peter Tennant 3/31/20
Thank you to Peter and his fellow volunteers who are looking for ways to meet their community, embodying their mission to “Love our neighbors as ourselves.”