MORRISDALE — Area residents in need will soon be able to get items to help with their everyday lives, as the West Branch United Methodist Charge will open its “House of Hope” this week.
Pastor Jeff Lauer said originally the charge had a soap pantry that was housed in another church because of insufficient space. But the charge has two parsonages – one of which is not currently in use. That’s where the House of Hope comes in.
Located at 821 Summit Hill Road, Morrisdale – near the Summit Hill United Methodist Church – Lauer said they thought the best way they could “use the gift from God” would be to reach out to those in need within the community.
“What we’ll be doing there is we will be giving away products to the underprivileged – those in need of soap and deodorant, dishwashing detergent and laundry detergent and things like that,” Lauer said.
In conjunction with House of Hope, a coat closet will also be available that offers new and gently used coats from children to adult sizes.
“We’ll also be giving out some hats and mittens as well,” he said.
For the soap pantry, Lauer said it’s an “economic-based ministry” that will be utilized on an as-needed basis.
“Where it goes from there, we don’t know,” he said. “But the idea behind it is to reach out in the community that has needs and, to use an old phrase, ‘be the hands and feet of God’ to a world that needs it ... There’s a lot of needy people (in the area).”
Lauer said they already have a shoe bank that is used frequently and figured this was just the next logical step.
“The idea is to see God’s love instead of just hearing about it,” Lauer said. “What you say isn’t what affects people, it’s the way they actually see it come to fulfillment or fruition. That’s what we want them to see.”
Lauer stressed that House of Hope is not an “exclusive” club but rather is “inclusive” in that all are welcome, regardless of if they are a member of the church or not.
The soap pantry will be open on the first and third Wednesdays of every month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will start this coming Wednesday. They have already been given a list of contacts for those in need, but others can show up during those times with a valid ID card or driver’s license and proof of income. ACCESS cards also work, he said.
The coat pantry is still in the process of collecting items, as an announcement on that will happen at a later date.
For the coats, they are accepting “new and gently-used” items from those willing.
“The coat pantry will run just like our shoe bank in Morrisdale,” Laurer said. “You can just merely stop in the door ... That’s going to be come as you need and we will do our best to keep you warm.”
The House of Hope currently has about four to six parishioners ready to help run it.
“There will be more as time goes on,” Laurer said.
As House of Hope takes shape, he said they will update the public as to what’s going on through its Facebook page at Facebook.com/SummitHillUnitedMethodistChurch. Other questions can be directed to the church.