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About Christ Church Cares
Christ Church Cares (CCC) operates a local outreach ministry that provides food and other necessities to our parishioners and neighbors. In February 2010, CCC began a once-a-month, large-scale food distribution program—a community food service for Clarke County residents. The pantry is a member of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. We are qualified for USDA food and also receive donations from local individuals and businesses. Fresh seasonal vegetables come from neighbors’ gardens and from the Millwood Community Garden, which CCC supports with time and treasure. We receive venison from Hunters for the Hungry, as well as from local hunters. The proceeds of an annual Country Fair on the church grounds also support this ministry.
Held on the first Saturday of each month, CCC volunteers assemble large nutritious food boxes for our clients. This offering includes chicken, local organic beef (provided by two neighbors) and other proteins, fresh vegetables and personal care items, as available. We are careful of the sodium and sugar content of the canned goods and staples. We are able to offer bread and baked goods provided by Wal-Mart, through the generosity of C-CAP Winchester, and by Wegman’s, through a pick-up by the Tree of Life pantry in Purcellville. Panera Bread is also available to us.
In addition to our once a month distribution, emergency food boxes are also available during church office hours Tuesday – Friday 8:30 to noon. Our goal is to eliminate food insecurity in Clarke County, a large goal for a small church, but to quote Robert Browning: Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp/ Or what’s a heaven for?
Community support for the food pantry has been sustained, creative, and generous.
In 2010, the food pantry received generous grants from Land ‘O Lakes Foundation and from the Diocese of Virginia to fund the purchase of two commercial refrigerators and two commercial freezers. A local family donated a third freezer, so we are now able to store dairy products and fresh produce as well as keep frozen meats as they come available. This equipment ensures food safety and allows us gather nutritious food throughout the month.
The Agua Fund awarded us a $3,500.00 grant in 2011 to help with food purchases for our growing client base.
Powhatan School has been a wonderful neighbor. Their fifth grade has held numerous food drives. In 2011 they “adopted” our pantry as its holiday charity and once again stocked our shelves to overflowing with pasta, canned goods and paper products.
Likewise, the Millwood Country Club asked for pantry donations as “tickets” to a holiday cocktail party and collected several hundred pounds of food. One grandmother “gave” all her grandchildren a pantry donation in lieu of holiday presents, and a Powhatan fifth grader asked that her birthday party guests bring pantry donations!
Although the pantry work is primarily done by members of Christ Church, Millwood, our Friday and Saturday volunteers are not all parishioners. Anyone with an interest in this ministry is welcome. We have had a Baptist youth group and Boy Scouts help carry groceries to cars. Several clients also help. We never say no to an offer.
Since February 2010, CCC has observed a steadily increasing need. Our first pantry helped 16 families. February 2012 assisted 55 households representing 148 people.
Because of this growth, we now invite seniors to shop on first Friday afternoons from 2:00 – 3:00 PM after our volunteers have finished assembling the client orders. Many seniors live alone, are frail, and seem to appreciate the personal service they receive on Friday afternoons.
Just as the number of pantry clients has grown, our pantry effort continues to be a work-in-progress. When one of our volunteers learned of pets being given up because their owners could not afford their food, we began to offer cat and dog food.
In 2011, a neighbor offered to provide children’s clothes and now supervises a clothes table during pantry hours. We offer gently used garments on an as-needed basis. In the fall of 2011, a parishioner initiated a coat drive and for several months we were also able to offer a variety of warm coats.
For the 2012 New Year, we gave our clients, again with the help of donations from Powhatan School’s fifth graders, their choice of new king or queen sized blankets.
One parishioner has offered to establish a small backyard garden at a client’s home. Who knows what’s next?
Supporting the CCC Food Pantry
The open door food pantry distribution is generally held on the first Saturday morning of each month, with volunteers arriving at 8:30 a.m., and visitors welcome at 9:00 a.m. We set up the Friday afternoon before at 1:00 p.m. All are welcome to help!! Please contact the church office at 837-1112 or email email@example.com for more information. All are welcome to help!!
If you would rather contribute to the client orders, we can always use:
Source: Clarke Daily News