Jokingly referred to by members of the church as their "best kept secret," the Church of the Covenant food pantry makes a small, but critical contribution to the lives of six to eight Macomb families each month.
Although the church itself boasts a congregation of only 60, donations to the pantry help supply some 30 people each month with food and essential toiletries.
"For a church where we have 60 people coming each week, it's something we can do," said Pastor Jason Huff. "The main assistance that we give is our food pantry. We're open for more people to come."
The pantry is usually open Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. - noon and from 2 - 4:30 p.m.
Church accepts food, cash, gift cards
"We really want to be here around the clock," Huff said, "to be here helping out people who have a need."
The church accepts both monetary and non-expired food donations. Cash and gift card donations are welcome, as well, and are used to purchase things like canned goods, boxed items, frozen meat and frozen dinners.
"I feel that especially with these economic times, our pantry isn't real big, but it's a filler for a lot of people that are really in desperate need of food, even on a daily basis," said Gay Rapin, a church deacon. "If we can give them what we can, at least that gives them a couple days worth of food."
In addition to food staples, the pantry also provides essentials such as toilet paper and laundry detergent.
"(People) like the food items, but those things like toiletries … they'll come to the last item on the list and it's just a blessing to have them," Huff said.
Angel Food Ministries provides food at a savings
Church of the Covenant is also a host site for Angel Food Ministries, a national program that provides families approximately $65 worth of quality food for $30.
Although Angel Food is open to all income levels, Church of the Covenant does offer a support program for families who wish to purchase Angel Food but are unable to pay the full price.
"It would normally cost about $50-$60 depending on what is in that month's box," said Gary Cynowa, church elder. "We (offer support) on an assistance basis, helping out a few families each month by providing a box to them."
However, once a family requests assistance several months in a row, the church does ask the family to contribute some portion of the cost.
"It does stretch their food dollar beyond what it would be," Cynowa said, adding that one box of food can cover a week's worth of dinners for a family of four.
Food may be ordered online
Angel Food can be ordered online at the Angel Food Ministries website, or at Church of the Covenant. There is no purchase limit, and Angel Food does accept food stamps.
The boxes can be picked up at designated delivery times at Church of the Covenant.
"In our community, a lot of people have been hit hard by the recession, and, while we're coming out of it, there are a lot of folks who still need help," Huff said. "For whatever reason, they may not know where to turn, so we're a way to help them get through these difficult times and hopefully show them that we care, that we love them."
Food pantry suggested donations include: soups, canned vegetables and fruit, toiletries, paper towel, detergents, soap, toothpaste, cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned tuna fish, jelly, frozen foods, and grocery gift cards.