When a simple update on the work of Storehouse became a spiritual call to action, local churches helped with staffing at the Storehouse to make sure we could continue to feed local families.
We know there are a lot of negative stories in the news. So, it is wonderful to see the profound kindness of people helping others in need. It’s also nice to share this tale of generosity.
The Storehouse is New Mexico’s largest food pantry, serving 50,000 people a year. We serve families with children, veterans, seniors, and increasingly, the homeless. From the start over 44 years ago, the Storehouse has relied on volunteer support. To point out, we have on average almost 14,000 hours of volunteer service a year. That is a huge part of our operation. COVID-19 changed all that. Many of our volunteers were retirees and individuals in high risk groups. Soon, the Storehouse found itself without much volunteer support. This void put huge pressure on existing team members who were already stretched thin. You see, the pandemic also brought lots of new clients to the pantry.
Update Turns to Action: Churches Help with Staffing Needs
In June, St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church invited Storehouse fundraiser, Ernest R. Naaz, to a virtual adult education forum. The goal was for him to provide an update on the pantry. The discussion turned to the lack of volunteers and the staffing issue. Many of the local churches had previously volunteered at the pantry and knew of the work. They understood the need and heeded the call. In the end, All Saints Lutheran Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Community of Joy Lutheran, and St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church joined forces to fund the salary of a full-time employee at Storehouse for a whole year.
St. Timothy’s wanted to help as they send many volunteers to the Storehouse. The pandemic, however, prohibited that from happening. During our discussion, St. Timothy’s member, Grace, said, “what if we raise funds to support a full-time employee at Storehouse?” Initially silence filled the space, but minutes later Storehouse was invited to come back to St. Timothy’s leadership with a breakdown of costs associated with full-time employment. The original goal was to raise approximately $27,000, and Storehouse would cover benefits and payroll taxes.
More Churches & a Founding Get Involved
St. Timothy’s Pastor Rachael soon got in touch with Pastor Kristin at All Saints Lutheran Church. Pastor Kristin embraced the idea, and the All Saints council gave generously to the effort. That followed with a call to Pastor Kristi at St. Paul Lutheran Church, who recognized the need to help those facing hunger as unemployment numbers ballooned. Pastor Paul at Community of Joy Lutheran in Rio Rancho called Pastor Rachael about joining the initiative. The end result was four Lutheran congregations joining forces to raise funds for a full-time Storehouse warehouse tech. The churches helped with staffing to make sure our work could reach the demand of the pandemic.
In addition to private donations at St. Timothy’s, the St. Timothy’s Council and their Women’s Ministry gave generously. St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church holds special meaning to the Storehouse. The pantry’s founder, Reverend Titus Scholl, was a pastor at St. Timothy’s. He and his wife Charlotte were deeply involved for many years.
In addition, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Director and Carl C. Anderson Sr. and Marie Jo Anderson Charitable Foundation Trustee, Kurt Rager, helped secure the balance of the funds needed to employ a full-time warehouse tech from the Foundation. Kurt was familiar with the Storehouse, and his ties go back to the Rev. Titus Scholl and Charlotte.
Funding is Secured & Hiring Happens
By the fall, all four Lutheran Congregations and the Anderson Foundation had raised over $33,000. Timothy Claw initially came to work for the Storehouse on a part-time basis. Now that the funding is in place, Tim is a full-time staff member at Storehouse and a valued member of the operations team. At a time when volunteer support was almost non-existent, Tim’s arrival could not have been more timely.
Tim enjoys his job at the Storehouse. “I love the job here because every day I get to fight hunger during this whole pandemic. It also brings me joy knowing I was able to give food to a family that was in need,” said Tim. “It’s actually the closest thing I have to a family here because my family is out in Gallup. The coworkers actually bring the family feeling back to my heart.”
Pastor Rachael expressed her gratitude that the Lutheran Community could work together for such a great cause. Knowing these local churches helped with staffing is amazing and very appreciated. Not to mention the the Carl C. Anderson Sr. and Marie Jo Anderson Charitable Foundation. We greatly appreciate their part in the effort, too. As we approach the holidays, all of us at Storehouse are filled with joy and gratitude for the continued support of our faith community, as well as the Anderson Foundation.
If you’d like to learn more about these faith communities, follow the links below:
Or, if you’d like to help fund the work of the Storehouse visit our donate page. Thank you!