Gospel Mission Food Pantry has outdoor Communion
As they opened doors Wednesday, a ritual of remembrance and thanks was explored outside the Gospel Mission Food Pantry at the edge of Lancaster Street.
Heads bowed, with those in need standing alongside, the group acknowledged the metaphysical and their own faiths.
“We held communion, and talked about what that means,” explained Gary Sampson, usually a jovial face on the pantry’s social media and happy to aid any soul who comes through the doors.
But in solemn prayer, he recalled the ultimate sacrifice acknowledged in Christian beliefs.
Communion, also referred to as a sacrament, was held in remembrance of the very love the pantry’s founders Jeff and Candy Waite hope to instill in each individual.
“Doing the Lord’s work here is very very important,” said Candy. “We’re the only Bible some people’s ever going to read and we have to make it a good read.”
Sampson explained that the service, though nothing new to the regular volunteers of the pantry, had usually been held inside.
“We do it here once a month, but this was the first outside, out in the open for people to see,” he said.
And out where those who may have not set foot in a church, could experience the love and mission of the pantry.
“I pray the ones that were just taking communion for the first time … that after they took, and we explained and we asked them if they wanted to do it, and that they felt a sense of relief, a sense of peace in their spirit,” said Candy. “A lot of people that come into the food pantry they’ve grown up on the streets, and they know when you’re serious and when you’re not. So, we try to make ourselves, show our walk with our Lord to them through what they would read in the Bible.”
And as for the physical needs supplied within the walls of the pantry some families are returning for aid that she didn’t see throughout the pandemic.
“We can always use canned meats, side dishes like stuffings and au gratin potatoes, things like that, but also cleaning supplies, toothpaste, things food stamps cannot buy,” she described. “We don’t get much deodorant … but it’s a blessing to receive.”
Meat is always a large expense for the mission, which takes no government funding to continue operations.
“Hamburger meat especially,” she said. “And sausage gravy in cans. We have a 90-year-old man, he’s a veteran, that comes in to get food, and he asked us if we had sausage gravy the other day when he was here. And we did not.”
The pantry is open each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those in need at 309 Lancaster St.
Donations are accepted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.