By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(April 30, 2020) Two churches in Berlin have joined to offer a drive-through food pantry to take place every other Wednesday, with the next one scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers from Stevenson United Methodist Church (SUMC) and Buckingham Presbyterian Church are providing groceries for families in need. The drive is being run through the Stevenson United Methodist Church’s ministry, the SUMC Spirit Kitchen.
The SUMC Spirit Kitchen had been offering free lunches every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before the coronavirus pandemic, but now that the church has been closed as a result of the virus, the volunteers have decided to offer the meals on 103 Flower Street.
“We’ll be open for 10 years come February and it was just a group of us people from Stevenson United Methodist that felt like the Lord had wanted us to feed his people,” Founder Vicky Nock said. “But since we’ve been closed by covid-19, we decided to do a drive-through pantry over on Flower Street. We’ve been doing that every other week as opposed to open every week because we’re seeing a lot more people.”
During last Wednesday’s drive-through, the food pantry handed out over 12,000 pounds of food to around 206 families, Nock said.
“Each family will get eight to 10 bags of groceries,” Nock said.
The food is provided by the Maryland Food Bank, with which the SUMC Spirit Kitchen is an agency. Even though volunteers from Buckingham Presbyterian are participating, only authorized agencies of the organization can request supplies from the Food Bank.
Supplies typically include canned and fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, potatoes, onions, chicken, meat, dairy products and even toilet paper and paper towels, though supplies do vary with each shipment.
There is little interaction with the families, she said, as the organization sets up several tables at 103 Flower Street and then places the groceries in the trunk of the vehicle or at a station for people who arrive on bikes or by foot.
Nock and her volunteers do this not only as a means of supporting their church, but to help those in the community who need it most. However, the activity costs money that the church cannot provide funds for at this time.
Even though the food is supplied by the Maryland Food Bank, the organization runs primarily on grants and donations.
“We don’t get money from the church,” Nock said. “We exist completely on grants and the good-hearted people in the community.”
Nock encouraged people who are able to donate money to help run the drive-through food pantry. Donations can be sent to the Spirit Kitchen at 123 North Main Street.
For more information about the food pantry, visit https://thespiritkitchen.wixsite.com or visit the SUMC Spirit Kitchen Facebook page.