Christ’s Cupboard was created in 1992 to enable the office staff to assist families in need of groceries.It was decided that a brown grocery bag would be filled with basic food items that will help a family through a few days. In 1992 Christ's Cupboard gave out 88 bags of groceries. In 2012 we gave out 424 bags of groceries.
In 1996 Christ's Cupboard started including two packages of frozen meat with each bag. 139 packages were given out that year. In 2012 we gave out 896 packages.
Then in 1999 a generous family in the area donated milk and eggs in the form of certificates that could be redeemed at a local grocery store. These certificates offered a family one gallon of milk and one dozen eggs. In 1999 St. John gave out 34 certificates. In 2012 St. John gave out 495 certificates.
In 1999 Wendell Watts; a member/volunteer decided it was time to provide Thanksgiving Dinners to a number of families—that year we started with 21 families.
Since 1992 Christ's Cupboard has given 5,200 bags of groceries, 8,043 packages of meat, 910 pizzas, and 4,343 certificates for milk and eggs.
Good Samaritan Fund
It was also identified that pastors were called on to help people with utilities, rent assistance and emergency housing. The Good Samaritan Fund was established in 1992 to respond to this need.
Guidelines were developed and pastors were given more resources to offer aid. In 1992 $2,878.48 was distributed by the Good Samaritan Fund. By 2012 that number has increased to $12,541.37.
The guidelines have changed to accommodate St. John and the people who come to see us for assistance. Although pastors are often available the office staff has taken a more active roll in helping people. In 2012 staff helped people 533 times. An active card file is kept for monitoring with a separate card file of those people that have not visited us for assistance in over three years. It is good to report that the “retired’ cards outnumber the active cards by about two to one.
Food and Funding
Through all of this time the congregation has provided the only financial support for these ministries. Many congregation members have stepped forward to assist with the day to day work of handling the groceries for the Christ’s Cupboard Ministry—which started out as the “Bags of Groceries Ministry.” In the beginning volunteers would go to the local grocery store and pick up five bags of food at a time.
In recent years we have partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank in Madison. We order food items from the organization each month which are then delivered to St. John. Items not available through Second Harvest are purchased locally by our dedicated shoppers/volunteers.
The last few years Sunday School students have decorated the grocery bags at Christmas and included a shopping list. Also church boards, circles and individual members contribute food items to the "Cupboard."