A Great Success

Volunteers Mindy Reid (left) and Howard Martin of Ashtabula begin to restock the food pantry and clothing bank at Plymouth United Methodist Church. Since October, the church has provided food and clothing for more than 1,000 people with help from the community.

Since October, Plymouth United Methodist Church (PUMC) has served more than 1,000 people through their food pantry and “Coat of Many Colors” clothing bank.

The mission is funded entirely on donations, community support and contributions from the church’s congregation. No restrictions are set on income, family size or residence for those who are in need.

“We have been blessed to be able to provide unlimited clothing and food that supplies each family with three meals for three days,” Pastor Samara Jenkins of PUMC said. “We knew that people were hungry, and we are called to feed them. Very few have utilized the pantry more than once. Things in the beginning were rough, and many of us (in the church) emptied our own freezers and cupboards to provide for the day.”

The food pantry supplies eggs, milk, bread, cheese, butter, meat and nonperishable goods. They were also part of Community Actions produce co-op this year, and gave away hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables.

G.O. Ministries donates their surplus produce to PUMC as well, providing healthy options to families who visit the food pantry.

Large amounts of nonperishable food have been given to the pantry by students at Lakeside middle and high schools, St. John School, the East Plymouth Grange and others.

However, keeping the food pantry stocked continues to be a challenge and more food is needed at this time.

“I must say the support has been great,” volunteer Linda Tryon of Ashtabula said. “There is a great need out there and we don’t want to send anyone away hungry. Helping others gives you the greatest feeling there is and I pray we can continue doing this. Sometimes the people that come in are just overwhelmed and want to talk. We have had many great conversations and hopefully they left feeling better. If anyone feels in their heart to give a donation they can bring it to the church or monetary donations can be made at any Andover Bank.”

Jenkins said all clothing is inspected for stains and tears, laundered and sized. There is a career corner for both men and women. It contains business casual wear, dress pants, shirts and shoes for the men, and dresses, skirts, pant suits, blouses, shoes, handbags and jewelry for the women.

“We tease that our motto is if your pastor wouldn’t wear it, then our friends that come to shop shouldn’t have to either. We want to assist in calming a stressful situation, while providing tools that make people feel good about themselves,” she said.

Tryon recently started the prom dress challenge at the Coat of Many Colors. Individuals are in the process of gathering up gently-used formal attire.

The independent distributors of Premiere Jewelry have contributed more than 30 gowns so far.

“We will be giving out very nice prom dresses to girls who can’t afford them in the surrounding areas so they can attend prom,” Tryon said. “This challenge has turned out to be a great success and prom dresses, young men’s suits, dress shirts, ties and vests will be made available in mid-April.”

The food pantry and clothing bank is open 12-3 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at PUMC, 970 Plymouth Road. Those in need are welcome to come at these times as well as those dropping off food and clothing donations.

For more information call the church at 440-998-0260.

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