By David Ryals
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK”, says Pastor Jim Pool of Renaissance Vineyard Church in Ferndale. The church volunteers have been helping people in Ferndale, Berkley, Clawson and other communities for over two decades.
Jim was in the Army for a short time before becoming a pastor. “For every infantryman on the front lines, there were seven heroic women and men making what that soldier did possible. You might say the Renaissance Vineyard Church is a little like that. Our church is filled with heroic women and men and kids caring for people on the frontlines in need, serving and supporting the great business, educational and civic leaders we have in our community.”
“Each Thanksgiving we distribute 60 Thanksgiving feasts to local families in need. Most of these families are already participants in our pantry program. We provide a turkey and two large boxes filled with all the food for a happy holiday feast. We partner with 5th grade students from the Ferndale Upper Elementary to help us pack the boxes.”
“We do a smaller drive at Christmas time. Our food pantry helps support our Warming Center, a weeklong overnight shelter for our homeless neighbors in need. We host about 100 women and men in our building for the week, providing dinner, hospitality and friendship, access to our clothing closet, a safe place to sleep, and breakfast in the morning. The Warming Center this year operates from the evening of Sunday, Dec. 29 to Sunday, Jan. 5. We will happily receive food donations of all sorts for this, financial gifts to help offset the cost, and we welcome community members to serve alongside as volunteers.”
The food pantry has been part of Renaissance VC since it’s foundation. It began at First Baptist Church of Ferndale more than a decade ago, so that now the pantry is just over 20 years old.
“Two of the early volunteers were Judy McRobb and Shirley Wade, who tirelessly built the program. The food pantry team is now led by Doug Gillespie, who is passionate about helping people in need, and has helped strengthen the work. In a typical month, the food pantry serves more than 80 families and over 150 individuals. In addition to Gleaners, we receive food from Forgotten Harvest, and private donations from community members like you, the reader!”
The pantry distributes food twice each month, typically the late afternoons of the first and third Mondays. They have other opportunities to serve during the week. If you would like to receive food, call 248-545-4664. The food pantry and clothing closet are open to anyone. No one is required to pay, pray or work to receive food or clothing.
“Finally, on behalf of Doug Gillespie and the whole pantry team, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who has supported us and served alongside us with food, laughter, hard work and volunteer hours throughout the years. It is truly a community effort.”