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Gethsemane Lutheran now satellite pantry site for the CRC

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The spirit moved them.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 35 E. Stanton Ave., this week became a satellite site for the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center food pantry.

"This is the Holy Spirit working," said the Rev. June Wilkins, pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran. She said members of the congregation responded when a committee broached the idea of hosting a pantry site during a forum.

"There's a dedication to service in our congregation," she added.

The new food pantry site, which was scheduled to open for the first time Wednesday, May 14, is to operate from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Those who come to the pantry will receive produce on Wednesdays and dry food on Saturdays, according to Wilkins.

The pantry will be operated in cooperation with Beechwold Christian Church on Morse Road and Maple Grove United Methodist Church on Henderson Road, Wilkins said.

People who turn to the CRC's main food pantry on East Lakeview Avenue can get seven days' worth of food once a month, according to Beth Stewart-Magee, basic needs coordinator for the settlement house. At the satellite operation, taking into consideration that many are likely to arrive on foot, people can receive three days' worth of food once a month on Wednesdays and another three days on Saturdays, she said.

"It's awesome," Stewart-Magee said of having a satellite pantry. "We have known for a long time that there are seniors and other families in that quadrant who don't have transportation and maybe don't get here as often as they should. So we're just excited to reach out to a group that has been underserved."

Church members have been thinking about ways of reaching out to the community, particularly the nearby Broadmeadows neighborhood, for some time, Wilkins said. They've long considered the idea of starting a pantry to help feed residents in needed, she said.

"That seemed like a lot of work to get food and that stuff," the pastor added.

In February, while speaking with Stewart-Magee on another matter, Wilkins said she mentioned the congregation's interest in helping nearby neighbors with a food pantry.

"She said, 'Oh, my gosh, we have to get together,' " Wilkins recalled.

They had lunch the next week. A team of church members was formed to plan the facility. Soon quilting supplies were being moved into a music room to clear space for the pantry.

"We have a lot of volunteers already in our congregation and a lot of support," she said.

"It's been really fast from inception to birth, but it's been really good. We're anticipating that the people who go down to CRC from our area will now come to this food pantry because it's a lot more convenient.

"I know from the congregation, we've talked about our mission and vision. And caring for people, helping people who are in need, is one of our purposes. I knew that people would be receptive. I'm honored and pleased at how receptive people have been. They said this is what we should be doing."

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