As rain came down around the building on Friday morning, volunteers at Hemenway Memorial Presbyterian Church in Boonville readied prepared boxes under the sheltered driveway next to the church.
The church’s food pantry has continued to serve needy families through the coronavirus pandemic through drive through operations. Pastor Tami Recob said the volunteers are doing everything they can to follow guidelines to stay safe, but still serve those in need in the community.
Recob said the food pantry normally offered the opportunity for those taking advantage of the service to choose their food, but the items are now boxed and loaded into cars without any contact. She said she hopes the church will be able to take the service back indoors with the ability for those in need to choose their food items, but the service will remain available nonetheless.
“It’s a far cry from what it used to be,” she said.
The pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Those in need only need to give their name and county of residence to receive food based on their family size.
Recob said the church has received support from the Warrick County Foundation COVID-19 grant, from the Greater Evansville COVID-19 relief grant, the Tri-State Food Bank and Bread of Life Ministries to continue to serve people through the pantry. In fact, she said the pantry will partner with Main Street United Methodist Church at the end of this month to help serve families in the week between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer.
Recob said that for that week, the school corporation won’t be serving meals for local students. She said the two churches decided to work together to offer extended pantry hours for families who need more assistance during that time. She said on Friday, May 22, Wednesday, May 27, and Friday, May 29, the pantry will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Even if they have already received assistance from the pantry this month they will be eligible to receive assistance on one of those days,” she said.
Despite the restrictions and changes as a result of the pandemic, Recob said the church is continuing to move forward with plans for expansion. She said the church hopes to open a new homeless respite this summer.
Recob said the church is renovating the basement area that houses the pantry to create the Warrick County Christian Resource Center. She said the center will be open during the day and will offer shower and laundry facilities, a business center and individual help with applications for assistance and job searches and a community table where individuals can receive a meal.
Recob said the church began working two years ago to identify needs in the community and found that one of the biggest issues is homelessness. She said the church didn’t necessarily have the ability to build a residential facility, but worked with community leaders to establish a plan for a center to help mitigate the needs of individuals facing homelessness.
“We started dreaming, visioning, praying and talking to community leaders,” she said.
Recob said the work is happening right now and the church hopes the ministry will begin in June. However, she said the church is still looking for donations to help support the $200,000 project.
“Any help, any partnerships, we’re more than happy to work with,” she said. “Any help is appreciated.
Recob said those interested in donating can mail their donation to the church at 124 E. Sycamore St., Boonville, Indiana, 47601.
For information visit Hemenway Presbyterian Church on Facebook or on their website at www.hopeathemenway.org.