While there were only 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus could
feed the 5000.
Because we have 2 women willing to step up to lead the
work the Food Pantry does at Christ Episcopal Church, we
are able to feed twice a month the growing number of
hungry who come to our door on Saturday mornings. And
who call during the week for emergency food assistance.
Debby Campbell and Peggy Walck, the two managers
called to lead our church’s food ministry, have changed the
lives of many, including the lives of the volunteers who
have signed up to help on Friday afternoons when the two
deliveries are made by Second Harvest and the volunteers
who show up for the work of distribution on Saturday
Keeping track of the volunteers of the Food Pantry is no
small task. It requires a sensitivity to how physically and
emotionally draining this work is. Both Debby and Peggy
have much work to do on Fridays to get the word out to
volunteers about the truck’s two deliveries as well as to
supervise where the food is to go for the next day’s
distribution. As you may not know, we have limited freezer
and refrigerator space and limited shelf space. Plus, on
Friday night the Undercroft is used by an NA group. So,
their space needs must be respected as well.
On Saturday mornings, the line of people in the parking lot
behind the fire station starts early, before the doors have
opened or set-up has begun. The first crew of volunteers
arrives around 8 am for the set-up. Then a new crew
arrives to help with distribution around 10. And once the
doors close after 12:30, all must be cleaned up to be
ready for church on Sunday morning.
Debby and Peggy manage all of that and more but without
their attention to every detail, this process would fall apart.
Both of them speak about their time spent in the Food
Pantry as a calling. And well it must be as both give great
amounts of time to this ministry. A “normal” week which is
an off week can take 1-5 hours. This is time spent
planning and restocking shelves, also organizing how
foods are stored given the limited space the pantry has.
The work, this very physical work, has fallen onto Peggy.
As Peggy told me, “I had a desk job in medical offices my
whole adult life . . .Nothing prepared me for the physical
labor of this ministry, but it’s one aspect I enjoy the most.”
For Debby, the amount of time and the calling to lead this
ministry have reflected her upbringing on an island in the
Caribbean and her father’s example of good education
and giving back.
If you’ve watched Debby on a Saturday morning at the
Food Pantry, you will have observed that she makes the
pantry experience fun. As she says, “If I put on some
music and commune with our members, the time goes so
much faster and this church can be our members happy
In ways I may not have described adequately, working with
Debby and Peggy in this essential ministry is all about
giving and the magic and mystery of feeding those who
appear at our door.
As the days grow colder, the lines are getting longer. I
urge you to volunteer with us. Whatever time you have will
be put to good use.
As Fr Bruce reminds us with every opening of prayer,
Christ Episcopal Church is a welcoming, compassionate
and healing community. Feeding the hungry certainly fits
Author: Deborah Emin
Photo: Barbara Cramer