In March 2020, Florence Christian Church provided free meals to 97 families. Since then, the number has steadily increased, and this year he reached a high of 449 in mid-July.
“There are so many people who are really suffering,” said Melissa Stephens, the church’s outreach pastor and communications coordinator. “People have been waiting in line for over two hours to receive their food,” she said.
Florence Christian offers a “Care & Share Food Pantry” and “Free Fresh Food Distribution” under its “Feeding Many Ministries” program. The pantry is available to her 24/7 and guests can bring whatever they need. The food distribution program is available on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 2:30 pm.
“We are so grateful,” said a woman waiting in line on a recent Tuesday. “Our cabinets were bare.”
Fresh produce and bread are donated, but the church uses funds from WellCare grants to purchase protein-based items for both programs.
Corey Ewing, President and CEO of WellCare Plan, said: “We appreciate the work the Florence Christian Church does for the community and are proud to fund their efforts.”
The WellCare grant will also be used for the operating costs of the Church’s Fresh Start Shower Ministries. This program provides access to shower and laundry facilities. Free hygiene products and snacks are also provided. This service is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 AM to 2 PM.
According to the church, many people use the shower after the night shift, before job interviews and during the rainy season.
“This ministry allows people to sit with other people living through the same struggles and share their stories,” Stevens said. Find and step into an unfriendly world seeking food and shelter.”
Debbie, a woman who is now homeless and lives in her car, regularly seeks church services and appreciates the work.
“Today I know I don’t have to be hungry,” she said.
Florence Christian Church