On July 17, CCS Executive Director Steve Possell and Lowe, who serves on the CCS board of directors, will meet with the GWMA and ask that all of the local church food pantries that operate for just an hour or two a day get back to the main mission of CCS and allow for one centralized food pantry.
Lowe is the first to voluntarily close the food pantry at New Life Christian Church. “We need to get back to that main objective; we’d like to get back to the initial mission of CCS and that is to combine to meet the communities needs,” he says.
While many churches operate smaller food pantries for just a few hours a week, Lowe says he often sees how people use and abuse those services when they arrive at the New Life Christian Church food pantry with a trunk full of food. “That’s duplicating services, causing double and triple spending, and it’s taking food from other families,” Lowe adds.
While food pantries in outlying communities like Syracuse, Mentone and Silver Lake are serving a need for those who are unable to get to Warsaw, Lowe and Possell believe the food pantries within Warsaw are spending money and resources on services that are intended to be provided by the one organization those same churches founded.
CCS is serving approximately 71 families per day in its food pantry. If all 120 churches in Warsaw alone would contribute to CCS, which can purchase food at a heavily discounted price from the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, that number of families could soar. Additionally, those same families and individuals could have all of their services provided in one location, which was the initial intent of CCS since its inception.
“The huge problem with the lack of support for CCS from the churches is the turnover of pastors at the churches,” says Lowe. “Not every pastor is involved in the ministerial association and we need to change that. The ones who were there initially and were responsible for starting CCS are gone. Of the 120 churches, 10 to 12 pastors are part of the ministerial association.”
Lowe and Possell agree that if churches would agree to close their food pantries and instead contribute to CCS, a greater number of people who truly need the help will be served. Adds Lowe, “One huge thing people need to know is that this building (CCS’s new location) is completely paid for so all of the support they give will go directly to the service programs.”
The New Life Christian Church food pantry will officially close at the end of July. Lowe and Possell hope for greater cooperation from local churches.
From food, clothing, diapers, baby formula and personal/hygiene products to financial assistance with utilities, CCS meets a variety of needs for Kosciusko County residents. CCS also offers programs to enable low-income households with the necessary tools – such as job training – to become financially independent.
“Jesus told us to feed the poor and I agree with that,” Lowe concludes, “but why can’t we do if efficiently? It takes staff to operate, money to buy food and we have CCS here for that. There are other needs (from churches) that are being neglected and there’s no need for that when CCS is here.”