Diamond Street Christian Church opens food pantry to help the hungry
Although their original plans to have a soup kitchen have been temporarily put on hold, the Diamond Street Christian Church still opens its doors to those in need of sustenance by way of a food pantry, open on the first and third Sundays of the month from 2 to 3 p.m.
Voncier Gammage, coordinator of the food pantry, stressed that the only qualification to receive food is need.
“You just come in and apply one time. Once you apply, then you just come in and sign in,” she said, adding that it is open to everyone and no identification is required. She noted that the only reason people have to sign in is because the food pantry has to keep a record of the number served.
Food assistance is also available on an emergency basis by calling the church.
Although the church is fairly new, Gammage said that in any given month they serve between 70 to 150 people at the food pantry.
Gammage, who shared that she was coaxed into doing the job by her sister, Monique Mobley, wife of the pastor, said people don’t realize the need for food assistance that’s in the community unless they are able to see it firsthand.
“I didn’t realize until I saw how many kids were getting free lunches,” she said. “Many of them are totally reliant on school lunches and school breakfasts. I didn’t realize how serious it was, but it is.”
“About three-fourths of the students are relying on the school for their nourishment. Because you don’t see it, you don’t know it exists, but it does exist,” she added.
Gammage noted that it is definitely the mission of Diamond Street Christian Church to help fill that need.
“It is definitely a church mission for Diamond Street, to play our role in eradicating hunger, especially with children,” she said.
“My sister, it’s her heart. Once it becomes the heart of a member, it becomes the church, because we’re all connected,” she added.
Gammage and her sister know firsthand what it means to go hungry as a children.
“My mom and dad were both active addicts. The addiction ruled. If we got a meal, it was good,” she shared.
She credited her great-grandmother and paternal grandmother with stepping in and caring her and her siblings.
“By the grace of God, my great-grandmother was still living and, if we weren’t with her, we were with my paternal grandmother,” Gammage said. “By the age of six, we ended up with my paternal grandmother who raised us until we were adults.”
“Those years in there were hard. Unless you really go hungry, you don’t know what that means — it’s devastating. We overcame and, through that experience, we can extend our hands to those who are in need because we know what it’s like,” she added.
Gammage stressed that, with some programs available to people in need being cut back, she feels the church needs to step in.
“That’s where the church needs to come together as a church and begin to see about our children because, at end of the day, they are the future, whether we like it or not,” she added.