Fifty-eight families in the Huntington area received boxes of food for the Christmas season, as part of an ongoing ecumenical food pantry sponsored by Beverly Hills United Methodist Church.
Each month, the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry receives volunteers assemble boxes of dietary staples, such as milk, bread, eggs, and cheese to families in need. The families either contact Beverly Hills UMC or the Information and Referral Services through the Cabell County Library to be placed on the list to receive boxes. Volunteers from Beverly Hills United Methodist Church and Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church work collaboratively to fill and deliver the boxes on the third Monday of each month.
Christmas boxes include the normal items, as well as either a ham or turkey. The hams and turkeys were donated by members of both churches and donated funding.
There was an increase in requests in December. Nearly 22 percent of the community surrounding Beverly Hills UMC lives below the poverty line. Many of the boxes are sent to Marcum Terrace, which is a low-income apartment community located one block from Beverly Hills United Methodist Church.
During a normal month, the food pantry assists an average of 35 families in the community. In November, approximately 45 families received a box of food for Thanksgiving.
“The food pantry is such a love of mine,” said Jeri Ripley, a member of Beverly Hills United Methodist Church who helps to organize the pantry each month. “I love helping the families in need.”
The food pantry is not just about reaching out to meet the needs of the community, but it is also about the fellowship that is fostered as a result of the ministry. Conversations will fill the halls, as workers will laugh, share stories, and work together to share the love of Christ. They will also interact with members of the recovery community who volunteer each month.
According to Ripley, the food pantry has been in operation since 2010.
“My hope is to continue to give our love, support, and help to those in need for years to come,” she said.