As seasons transitioned from the warmth and bright sun of summer to the crisp air of autumn, The Pantry faced a big transition as well. Our last services were provided at John Knox Presbyterian Church on Friday, September 28. Throughout that week and weekend we had volunteers helping us pack 33 years’ worth of memories and move. Over 50 volunteers from different organizations helped us as we moved from JKPC. We could not have done this so smoothly without the help of organizations like Cornerstone Church, Ada Christian Schools, East Kentwood High School National Honor Society, Kentwood Rotary, Sole Sisters, Encounter Church, Two Churches, Habitat for Humanity, and the State of Michigan Department of Human Services. The work of so many people made the job seem a lot smaller. We were so overwhelmed with joy at the amount of volunteer support that we could not pick just one Volunteer of the Month for September, and so made a unanimous vote to recognize each and every one as Volunteers of the Month. It truly was a collective effort. Thank you to everyone who came and helped!
For the time being, most of what makes The Pantry run, the shelving, kitchen equipment, hand carts, and office furniture, are being kept in storage units while our new home is being renovated. But we also have items being housed in church garages, people’s unused spare bedrooms, basements, garages, and business conference rooms. We are so grateful that when we were asked “How can we help you?” and we asked for space to hold our things that doors were opened to us. This is helping keep our costs down, as renting storage space is not inexpensive. To each of you keeping our items safe in your homes, businesses, and places of worship, thank you so much.
As we meet with contractors doing the work on our new home and discussing the work of The Pantry, we are asking for reduced costs. The businesses have been so gracious and have appreciated the mission of The Pantry. Businesses like Soule Industrial Mechanical Contractor, Kent Companies, Sommerdyke Plumbing, First Advantage Realty, Rapid Fire Protection, The Freezer Depot, Cabinets and Countertops Direct, and Housemaster Inspections have offered their services at no cost or reduced cost to help us complete our project as inexpensively as possible. We are so grateful for their support, and ask that you thank them if you see them in the community, and consider them for projects you may need to have done as well.
Lastly, we need to recognize that, although The Pantry is currently closed for renovations, the need in our community has not gone away. Our neighbors still face food insecurity for a variety of reasons. Neighboring pantries UCOM, Streams of Hope, and Family Network of Wyoming opened their doors to our neighbors to ensure they would continue to receive nutritious food and support while we work to re-open. The staff and volunteers at these pantries are wonderful people, and we are appreciative of the kindness and caring they show each person who comes to them in need.
I am sure that we could list even more ways the community around us is supporting us and our neighbors at this time. God has blessed The Pantry with this wonderful community. Donations continue to come in to fund the Green Apple Initiative, the capital campaign we have undertaken to pay for our new home and the renovations needed. To those who have donated, we cannot say thank you enough. If you have not donated and would like to, please go to the Donate page on our website to make a contribution. You can also mail a check to The Pantry PO Box 8124 Kentwood, MI 49518. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 we learn that there is a season and a time for everything. This is a season of thanksgiving for The Pantry as we make this transition. We honor and recognize our supporters, in every form, because we cannot and have not done this alone.