New Hamburg’s Zion United Opens the Door To Its Little Community Pantry

Zion United Church in New Hamburg is continuing to serve the community, despite the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19.

A group of seven women from its congregation, known as The Caring Team, has created a Little Community Pantry in front of the church, containing non-perishable food items that are free to those in need.

The group’s mandate is to care for the community at large, and they’ve attached a sign to the pantry’s door that says, “Take what you need…Be blessed.”

“At the beginning of the year, we decided we’d like to put up not a book library, but a pantry ‘library’,” said group member Pat McGlynn, referring to the global Little Free Libraries book-sharing movement.

The Zion United Caring Team, which consists of seven women from the church’s congregation, asked carpenter Ross Blackshaw to create the pantry. They approved his church-shaped design, which Blackshaw built for free.

The structure, which has a door, two shelves, and a cross on the front, was unveiled on June 13. A video of the ceremony was shared at a virtual church service on June 21.

COVID-19 surprised the Zion United just like everyone else, and while the church’s building stopped being the usual community hub, it hasn’t slowed down the congregation. “That didn’t stop us from continuing on with our pantry project.”

Members of The Caring Team follow a weekly schedule, taking it in turns to keep the pantry replenished. They’ve been overwhelmed by the public’s response, said McGlynn.

“One thing we noticed was that the community was putting food into the pantry. We were really humbled by the fact that not only are we serving the community, but the community is coming back and sharing their non-perishable food items.”