WILMINGTON –By collecting food and clothing donations from members of the parish, St. John the Beloved Outreach provided necessities for more than 50 families in need each week.
The plan is to build on that number in a new location and help families help themselves.
The Outreach recently partnered with a branch of Community of Christ Church in Wilmington. Their combined efforts and new location allow for possibilities to serve more families in the community.
On April 8, St. John the Beloved Outreach and Community of Christ Church held a grand re-opening of the food bank service.
A deacon’s efforts to give back to the needy became the foundation of this ministry 20 years ago. What started out as simple donations, turned into an organized effort by several hard-working volunteers, and the program continues to evolve.
The coordinator of the program, Jamie Moulthrop, is excited about the move.
“I can’t express enough how much of a game changer this new location will be,” he said.
St. John the Beloved school served as the former location for the Outreach program. To avoid conflicts with time scheduling during the school week, food and clothing could be given to families on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
“We obviously want to encourage people to work,” Moulthrop said, “but if you’re a working person that needs this ministry … if you’re at work from 9-10:30, which most people are, you can’t come see us.”
The new location is “a match made in heaven” for Moulthrop as it will “help St. John the Beloved Outreach offer more services in a bigger, better space while protecting the security of the school. For Community of Christ, it’s an opportunity for a small congregation to serve the people of the community and fulfill its mission of faith-based service.”
This mission is not merely a “transactional” process. St. John the Beloved and Community of Christ share common interests to give to those in need, but the effort does not end there. Moulthrop hopes the program will be one of empowerment for working-poor families in the area.
“We want to empower these people. We want to see what steps they need to take so that one day, they do not need our services anymore,” he said. “Our goal is to have people come back and say ‘I was able to go to the store to buy my groceries for the week’ or ‘I got that job I was interviewed for.’ To help people get back on their feet is something we strive to do.”
Anyone interested in donating food or clothing can deliver their items to Community of Christ Church, 1205 Milltown Rd. Wilmington. A list of appropriate food and other necessities can be found on St. John the Beloved’s website.