Four years ago, while part of a missional leadership group, Kara Carter, pastor of Wellesley Mennonite Church, received news from the local school parents advisory group that there were children who were coming to school hungry.
She shared the need with the local ministerial, which explored the issues of food security with regional government officials, Wilmot Family Services and the Waterloo Region Food Bank. Since transportation from the village to urban food bank locations was an issue, the ministerial decided to work at providing a “food cupboard” to provide bridge supplies to local residents.
Christa Gerber, the Wellesley Community Food Cupboard’s director, reports that, after being open for more than two years now, 20 community members volunteer to keep the service open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon and on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Outreach workers have 24/7 access.
The Cupboard supports 50 adults and 95 children on a regular basis. It also helps students head back to school by supporting a “back pack” program that provides school supplies and lunch snacks to nearly a hundred students. And the Wilmot Family Resource Centre runs a “lunch crunch” program in the space, providing lunches to up to 15 students every Monday morning.
But Carter sees the deeper connections growing between local congregations of many denominations who work together rather than against each other. And many local agencies are working together with the congregations. This is a case of “listening to a need in the community, [figure out] how to help, and expand the circle of support,” she says. It’s “listening to the needs of the families who are using it.”
Gerber adds, “We would love to not need to have this program in our community. It is troubling that so many working families are unable to cover all expenses every month. As a community, I am happy that we are able to help where we can.”
The Food Cupboard is located at 146 David Street in Wellesley, right across the road from Wellesley Mennonite Church. MennoHomes, which owns the property, supplies the space for the cost of the building’s utilities.