In June, Mariettans were appalled to learn of the burglary of food from The Gospel Mission Food Pantry. Thankfully, those responsible were quickly apprehended, and the community gave donations to replace that which had been lost. I am so proud to live in a community that responds quickly when help is needed. However, the need continues to grow and help is again needed. I am so grateful for all the food pantries in the area but wish to provide some pertinent information about The Gospel Mission Food Pantry. It differs from the other agencies in that it does not limit the number of times a person may come for food. Food will be given at any time a hungry person asks. The Gospel Mission Food Pantry also does not refuse people who come from areas outside a certain vicinity. If someone is hungry, that person will receive food. As Director Candy Waite said, "The spirit leads us to feed them when they come through the door."
The Gospel Mission Food Pantry is run totally on donations. Because people are offered a Bible - although certainly not a requirement to receive food - and religious information is present, no government funding is available. Of the monetary donations given, $100 is used each month for electricity (the Mission mowed grass this summer in exchange for the electricity), and liability insurance is paid every six months. Every other penny goes to buy food - all purchased locally. There are approximately 20 volunteers and community service individuals who assist at various times at The Gospel Mission. They use their own vehicles, gas, and phones with no reimbursement. I am so impressed with the work these people do.
Devastation and hunger are shown each night on the news, and it is difficult not to want to help everyone. I have lived in Marietta my entire life and truly believe we can eliminate hunger in Marietta if we make a promise to support the local food pantries. The Gospel Mission Food Pantry is equipped with freezers and refrigerators, but they are far from filled. The shelves have plenty of space for more food. The workers open a donated box of cereal and divide it into two zip lock bags so it can feed two. Packages of hot dogs and bologna and bread are split to be able to provide for more people. More food is needed to prevent families from going hungry. To support these missions, would we need to forgo an evening out, or perhaps are we so blessed that we would not even miss the money to make a donation to The Gospel Food Pantry?
Jeff and Candy Waite heard the calling to feed the hungry. They have a location; they give their time, talents, and money to run the Gospel Mission. They treat everyone who walks in the door as they would like to be treated - with respect, caring, and as a family member. I am urging individuals, churches, businesses, and clubs to make a promise to keep food on the shelves of the food pantry and have no one come to our town who is unable to have the necessary food for his/her family.
Elizabeth W. Morgan lives in Marietta.