I had the opportunity to visit our neighbors at Welborne United Methodist Church to deliver our gifts from the 4 o’clock Christmas Eve service. Gretchen, the church volunteer who runs the pantry, took me around and showed me the food they give, and how they run the pantry. I was so impressed with the variety of food they had, including meat and fresh produce, and the variety of places where they purchase the food to get it for the best price. Gretchen told me how grateful they were for the amount of soup and other canned goods that River Road gave at Christmas. She said she was going to go shopping for soup soon, and thanks to us, she didn’t need to!

The pantry is located on Patterson Avenue between Parham and Gaskins Roads. They help families in need of food as often as twice a month, living in the zip codes of 23229, 23238, 23226, 23294, and 23233. They receive referrals and have a relationship with another RRCB ministry partner, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, as well as Henrico Mental Health. The pantry served 2,364 families in 2017.

We began our relationship with the pantry at Welborne at Thanksgiving when our Board of Missions decided our Thanksgiving offering should go to them. From Judy Morris: “It has been a tradition at RRCB for the BOM to vote on a recipient of the Thanksgiving Offering each year. It has always seemed appropriate for that recipient to be a food ministry. I went to meet the volunteer organizers/workers at Welborne. I listened to their stories and I was extremely impressed with their commitment to this mission. I heard of great efforts to stretch financial donations. They know where they can get the most for the money in hand!”

It is such a blessing to have this well-run ministry that can serve the families in our immediate community and surrounding area. It is also a blessing to support this ministry while not trying to create it ourselves. Ministry is not done in isolation, it is done by working together as Christ’s disciples helping children of God who are in need. I am glad I got to meet and work with a fellow sister to help feed our neighbors.

Written by Kim Crowley

Originally published in the 2018 Spring Quarterly Explorer

We are committed to donating food for pantries in the Richmond area. The First Sunday Food Share is one of the ways we minister to our communities. River Road Church has a long history of working with our three Baptist Centers, Church Hill, Oregon Hill, and South Richmond, in many capacities from donating food and items of need, to going to the centers and providing services and care. On the first Sunday of each month, please bring a bag of food for the Baptist Centers and place it in one of the green grocery carts in the Upper or Lower Commons. The Board of Missions hopes this will become your family’s monthly tradition. From time to time there may be additional calls for special donations. To best serve our centers and their communities, the center directors are requesting smaller-sized products.