-GAINS & GLEANINGS-
By J. Hogan
When we were in the midst of our major building refurbishment last summer, my friend Mark Duffy called and asked if Faithbridge would be willing to host an outdoor Little Pantry for folks to fill with food for anyone in need.
If I’m being honest, I have to share that the Little Pantry idea was about as far from my concerns as could be at that time. My head was filled with major daily tasks like machine rentals, delivery scheduling, concrete pouring, painting, scaffolding, etc., and I just wasn’t really thinking about adding more to the list.
Mark – a member of Crossroads Church off the Oakdale exit on Route 22 – really thought the pantry would be a blessing in our community, and he patiently explained that he would have the box built, it would look nice, and he would handle installing and initially stocking the pantry. In other words, he assured me that none of the job would end up on my plate.
I agreed to have him get to work on it.
The box itself took about a month longer than originally planned. Mark’s father-in-law, tasked with making the windowed, multi-shelf box decided this box would be dedicated to the memory of an infant child Mark and his wife had lost years ago. As such, he wanted to take his time on the painted decoration of the box’s exterior.
It was worth the wait. The box turned out lovely, with a perfectly functioning hinged, windowed door to allow folks to see what’s inside.
The Little Pantry has been in place for four months now and it has been a big blessing for many folks.
We had it placed just outside the door on Dale Street used for entrance to our foodbank – another ministry we’re blessed with which is run by Donna Pollard, a member of McKees Rocks Assembly of God Church.
The thinking was that if we put the pantry where the food bank is, there would often be food in there when someone in need came by when the food bank was closed.
That pretty oversized mailbox full of food has truly proved to be a blessing. We often see it filled, then half-full as some folks have taken some for their need, then full again as someone else came by with food to stock it again.
I’ve seen a gentleman take one box of macaroni and cheese from a full pantry, and a laid-off mother fill a pushcart with everything in the box to feed her family.
I’ve seen the cutest little lady lean her cane against the pantry’s post as she reaches up to stock the box from her abundance, making sure to turn the labels forward so anyone can clearly see what’s inside through the window.
We’ve been thanked by folks who had need and found food. I’ve said “You’re welcome, and we’re glad to be a help,” which is all true enough, but it’s really not us. Faithbridge gave a few inches of space, but Mark Duffy and his family, Crossroads Church, and members of our community at large have really been the ones providing the blessing.
Thanks Mark, for pushing to be a blessing when I was distracted and not very engaged… you’ve truly provided a blessing.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church.