Katherine's Cupboard: A dream being realized

Story and photos by Erika Lee Kraus, Intern

Resting atop a hill as a beacon of hope and comfort, the Laurel Point Methodist Church has served the local community for over 125 years. This year, the church in Fairmont, West Virginia, is taking their service one step further by opening a special food pantry: Katherine's Cupboard.

Members of The Bridge, a multiethnic church in the Washington, D.C., area, helped create a food pantry at Laurel Point Methodist Church in Fairmont, West Virginia.

During the 1940s, the church flourished. People packed the place on Sundays. But after the evaporation of the mining industry and changes in the economy, the congregation now consists of roughly a dozen adults and three children.

"Children have passed in and out [of the community] throughout the years," Laurel Point Pastor Tammy Phillips explains. The area also struggles with high rates of teenage suicide.

Years ago, Phillips says, an influential woman in the church named Katherine Richardson expressed a "desire to have a food pantry to minister to the community to feed their bodies and their soul."

Katherine has since passed away, but her dream to serve the community hasn't been forgotten.

With God's help, this year the church began realizing Katherine's dream of turning the church's basement into a food pantry named in her honor. World Vision volunteers from The Bridge, a multiethnic church near Washington, D.C., spent a week painting, building walls and shelving, and transforming the storage space into Katherine's Cupboard.

Transformation in the community is occurring as well. Community members have come together to connect with their church family once again.

Volunteer group leader Andi Ingram and daughters Julianna (right) and Melody (center) worked on the pantry.

"It's not about denominations. It's about participation and what Christ has for all of us," Phillips says. "When God's people come together, there's not anything that he can't do."

Unlike the state-run food pantry in the area, she says, families will be able to come to Katherine's Cupboard whenever they need staples to "tide them over and keep them over the hard times."

The church already has a small freezer, a partnership with a local restaurant to get hot meals daily, and partnerships with four local churches to donate food items. The pantry will offer dry goods, boxed milk, pastas, soups, and other non-perishable items.

Through Katherine's Cupboard, Phillips hopes food pantry users will share God's love and ultimate provision to reach other families: "We want to make this their home, and hope that they will stay and help someone just like themselves."