Christ Church Cares, the outreach arm of Christ Church (Episcopal) in Millwood, Clarke County, recently received a $5,000 grant from the Land O’Lakes Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic Grants Program. This significant grant supports the Christ Church Cares food pantry that serves southern Clarke County. Christ Church received the maximum amount awarded under the Land O’Lakes Foundation philanthropic initiative.
As the economy worsened in recent years, Christ Church parishioners came together to help ease the community’s financial distress by providing nutritious food to neighbors in need. In February 2010, Christ Church Cares began a large-scale food distribution program on the first Saturday of each month. Its clients come from the under-served rural communities of Millwood, Boyce and White Post. In addition to canned and dry goods, always available during church office hours, on the first Saturdays clients receive frozen meats and fresh vegetables donated by local residents, and baked goods donated by Wegman’s, Panera Bread and other local stores. When Christ Church Cares volunteers learned that pets were being given up because owners could not afford their food, the food pantry began to offer dog and cat food. Personal care products are also a new item at the pantry and on hand as available.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this generous grant,” said Christ Church Outreach Chair Wendy Clatterbuck, who with a handful of dedicated volunteers organized and operates the food pantry. “Christ Church’s grassroots outreach targets neighbor helping neighbor, and the Land O’Lakes grant is vital to our continued mission,” she stated.
Land O’Lakes Inc., since 1921 the nation’s premiere member-owned and directed cooperative, established the Land O’Lakes Foundation with a mission of improving the quality of life in communities where the cooperative has members. Hunger relief in rural communities, through the Foundation’s new “Feeding Our Communities” program has a high priority. Clarke County dairyman, Bev McKay is an elected representative of the Land O’Lakes’ Eastern Leadership Board. McKay, together with Tom Wakefield, a member of the Land O’Lakes corporate Board of Directors, were instrumental in the grant application’s success. They endorsed the food pantry’s efforts and forwarded the grant application to the Land O’Lakes Foundation decision-makers.
At Christ Church, the Land O’Lakes Foundation grant will be used to expand the food pantry’s facilities. Presently, pantry shelves are in a 4×8 foot closet at the church office. The pantry’s client base has doubled since the program’s inception, making this small area inadequate. The Land O’Lakes grant will allow for more shelving and storage. The grant will also help purchase food storage equipment. Presently, there is no on-site refrigerator or freezer, only a large cooler. The pantry’s new equipment will be stocked with Land O’Lakes dairy products.