Reform Baptist food pantry closes due to lack of support

— After five years of helping families in need put food on the table, the Reform Baptist Church has closed the doors on its food pantry for good.

Due to dwindling donations and a lack of resources, pantry organizers were forced to give up the venture.

"We just got down to rock bottom, and just couldn't go on anymore," said pantry organizer Maxine Thomas. "It had worked really well until lately. Our church membership decreased, and so did support for the food pantry."

"With the economy like it is, we just weren't getting enought support, and we spent all the money we had," agreed Rose Haymart. "At first the church people brought donations, and other churches helped out, but then it got so the church wasn't helping as much -- there wasn't as much interest.

"We've been doing this for several months; we'd think we'd be closing and then more money would come in, one time the Boy Scouts in Mokane brought a bunch of food," she continued. "We kept holding on as long as we still had money."

Haymart and Thomas said the pantry, which was open to area families in need of assistance once a month, was started at the urging of pastor Rick Conley.

"We were doing the Bible study Forty Days of Purpose and the last chapter called for you to take up a project," Haymart said. "We thought this was something good we could do for the community."

Shesaid the pantry helped anywhere from eight to 15 -- and one time 20 -- families each month. Although they said they believed some of those families also were getting assistance from SERVE, they were not certain.

"We don't really know because we weren't really strict (with paperwork)," Haymart said. "We just had it open to the people that needed it."

She said those people were her favorite part of running the food pantry.

"We got to know them from month to month," Haymart said.

Thomas said she too will miss "just knowing you're helping people." She said if further resources can be built up, she definitely would consider re-opening the pantry in the future.

"We'd like to, although most of the ones that worked in the food pantry are older," Thomas said. "If we could get donations, we might try it again."

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