In 2007, Mount Olive UMC received a sizable donation with one stipulation: it must be used for new missions and ministries. The Witness Team at the time was comprised of congregants who worked in variety of school systems. We kept coming back to the need to feed children,” said Char Czerwinski, Chair of the Witness Team. “We all knew the need was real,”
Their church was not built to pass an inspection for a soup kitchen, and they didn’t have storage space to open a food pantry. So they came up with Heaven’s Cupboard, a ministry that delivers groceries to families referred through MSD Wayne Township. “We shop *on demand’ for each family as we receive the request,” said Char.
Their first grocery delivery was in January 2008. Since that time, they have made 966 deliveries. Even at the height of COVID, “Heaven’s Cupboard never missed a beat. They were able to pivot at the pandemic and offer gift cards instead of shopping for a family.” said Mount Olive senior pastor Mandie Gould.
“If you would have asked me in 2008 if we would still be feeding families in 2023. I would have told you ‘No way. This church can’t sustain that cost,’ All we can say now is ‘To God be the glory!” said Char.
According to Char, Heaven’s Cupboard serves a lot of families who live every day in poverty. but they also serve a lot of families in financial crisis for a variety of reasons: fire, flood, death of a family member, divorce, abandonment, or ilness.
“Lives have been changed by all of those involved,” said Char. “I once had a child at my school–who didn’t know I was involved in Heaven’s Cupboard-that received a grocery delivery ask if I believed in angels. When I asked him why, he said it was because ‘some angels came to my house last night and brought me milk and fruit.”
“Lives have been changed by all those involved.“
Families can receive one grocery delivery per school semester that will provide at least a week’s worth of groceries, regardless of the household size. Volunteers contact a family ahead of time so they can be aware of dietary needs, allergies, and appliances that the family has for doesn’t have).
Heaven’s Cupboard also offers a Thanksgiving meal, comprised of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, green beans, com, roils, macaroni and cheese, gravy, pie with whipped topping. butter and milk. These are designed to be cooked at home. The non-perishable food items are donated by the congregation. Each year, they provide around 100 meals to families in need.
The ministry is funded by donations and fundraisers, the largest of which is a silent auction held annually in November and December,
“The beauty is, we have never run out of money. We have never had to tell a school, ‘Sorry, but we can’t help this time.’ That’s a God thing! Loaves and fishes, we call it!” said Char.