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St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church

  A place to grow in faith! 

 Food Pantry


We are so blessed to be able to provide for our community through our Food Pantry and Gabriel Project ministries here at St. James. It is very impressive the amount of people we reach out to help. We are a congregation that has limited volunteers but we are able to feed and clothe thousands. Through this ministry I now understand how Jesus provided for thousands from scarcity.

The dedication and compassion we show to others is not going un-noticed. Please read the note on the previous page from food pantry recipients.

The Salad Luncheon/Style Show was a hit. I think everyone would agree to do it again next year. We profited about $1,800.00 so, because of its success it will only get bigger and better next year!

I'm always telling a story about how God works in mysterious ways. Well, God did it again! Phyllis Conner approached me on Sunday, November 11th regarding groceries needed for the Northern Panhandle Head Start Program. Every year Phyllis gets pre-cooked rotisserie chickens and prepares grocery bags for 40 families. This year I wasn't thinking about buying extra for these bags. This concerned Phyllis because shopping would be difficult for her and Ernie (although she didn't express this concern to me at the time). However the very next day, Riesbeck's told me that they were donating 40 bags of groceries and they were ready to be delivered. Amazing that it was the exact amount that we needed for the Head Start Program. God provides for our needs but we have to believe and have faith.  

   I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has helped or donated to the Food Pantry. This ministry has become very special to us not because of our successes but for the people that we are able to provide for in time of need. God has truly blessed us through this ministry. It has made us a closer community by nurturing us in faith and helping us to thrive together in one common mission.

We are incorporating the help of other churches to help as well. Christ Lutheran's Pastor, Joel Richter, has helped pick up grocery orders, pack bags and distribute food. The Youth from Christ Lutheran also helped to pack Thanksgiving bags as well. In addition there was a member of Christ Lutheran Church participating as a model in our Style Show.

In December, we anticipate youth from our sister Lutheran churches to help fill the Christmas bags. For a while there were about 120 families as an average distribution for several months, it then rose to 132. November's Thanksgiving distribution hit an all-time high for St. James at 244 bags distributed. We are preparing 264 bags for the month of December.

In case you are wondering how the pantry works...Myself (Maureen), Joyce Lyrio-Takis and Ed Farmer shop for the items. Lee Pascoli and Ed Farmer travel to Cabela's to pick up food from Mountaineer Food Bank distribution truck. This truck comes directly from Gassaway, WV where the items have been loaded for pick-up.

Each month I watch for store ads and make a list of what will go in the bags for each month. Susan Hamilton and her group of ladies (*bag ladies* as they refer to themselves) and Michael Hamilton with the volunteers from the VanCamp Foundation fill the bags. On holiday distribution we may get additional helpers. Sandy Nickerson gets the empty paper bags doubled and opened before the bags are filled. Phyllis Conner, Sue Thatcher, Joanne Mahlke, Cordi Kotzbauer and Marie Abercrombie coordinate the record keeping on distribution day. Ed Farmer, Lee and Diane Pascoli, as well as Michael Hamilton assist with the distribution. Beverly Carpenter has assisted in unloading on the day of Cabela pick-up and assists with putting groceries on shelves. Pastor Deb has also helped on Holiday distributions and has prayed for the helpers and recipients.

So, to all I say "THANK YOU" for everything you do to make this ministry a success.

   God Bless and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Maureen Wagner