By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
ANNAPOLIS, Md.—About 30 people of all ages regularly attend First Baptist Church of Eastport. They meet for worship and Bible study, and they do outreach ministry in a big way.
The church’s food pantry began with a few shelves of canned goods 20 years ago and now two rooms are filled with food. Last year, that church of 30 provided 4,000 bags of food to over 1,000 people.
Betty Meade is the volunteer church office manager and leads the food ministry.
Each Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to noon, several volunteers of all ages manage the activity, checking people in and bagging and distributing the food. But there’s a lot of work that goes on each week prior to Tuesday. Some gather the food —bringing day-old bread and produce. Another member goes to the food bank for supplies. Midshipmen who attend the church pitch in and help stock and maintain the pantry. Many food recipients jump in and help with unloading.
“This is our main focus right now,” Meade says.
Rob Curto, the church’s outreach minister, said folks come for a variety of reasons including loss of jobs, ongoing medical problems and crisis situations. Many are broken and Curto, Meade and others pray with them. Several started attending the church as a result of the food ministry.
Curto recalls one young immigrant, lost and alone, who came to the food ministry for help and became part of the church family.
The church doesn’t stop with the groceries. They also give a small amount of financial help when they’re able.
They raise support for the benevolence fund by opening their church lot for parking during the annual boat show in October and accepting donations.
“Many people give generously when we tell them it’s for the food pantry,” Meade said.
The church even goes an extra mile and occasionally helps with gas and electric and prescriptions.