FOLEY – There were real reasons for a church to halt a food bank – the COVID-19 situation, the absence of a regular pastor, and last year’s flooding. Despite these challenges, Foley Baptist continued what they had already been doing.
In the past, people needing food came to the church the last Saturday of the month, except for November and December holidays. People came in the church, where name, address, and number in the household were taken. There was also a list of the food available that month at the church, and the food was taken to client’s cars.
The February 2020 distribution date came about 10 days after the shutdown for the precaution for the COVID-19.
“When the March date came around, we discussed it, and decided we could do this safely,” said church volunteer LaDonna Reno.
The church team wore masks and gloves. Clipboards were covered in plastic. Those coming for food were told to stay in the car and paperwork would be brought, then the groceries would be brought out.
Reno said 15 to 20 people were fed before the pandemic and after flooding, where Twin Rivers Baptist Association helped them clean-up while the members worked on what needed to be rebuilt.
Church members put together grocery bag “kits” of about five bags – one each for vegetables; canned meat; soup/pasta/syrup; boxed goods (pancake mix, corn bread mix, pasta); and toiletries.
At the end of April, only one kit was given away, so another Saturday was added, and a larger turnout arrived. One kit was given to a member recovering from a 2019 stroke. The rest of the kits were given out. In May, about eight kits went out.
“The interesting thing is the people that came in May we didn’t know. None of our regulars came in May,” Reno said.
Tom McCurdy was interim pastor until Will Steinbeck was selected as pastor on May 3, in a socially distant special worship service.
Reno said the group decided to continue the food pantry.
“It’s a group of Christians that loves the Lord and many made up their minds a few years ago that given the choice of closing or more people stepping up to do the work, they stepped up. they want to do what they can for the church,” Reno said.
“One of my first impressions of the people of Foley Baptist Church is that they brim with the love of Christ. They already are hearing and obeying the Word in order to win souls who love the Lord and love their neighbors. I’m grateful and encouraged, because they’re already living out many key principles of our pilgrim union with Jesus Christ, and I eagerly pray we all keep doing so until His return,” Steinbeck said.