PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Despite financial concerns, a small but mighty church in Petersburg is fighting to continue offering support to its community’s homeless population.
Every Monday through Thursday, First Baptist Church provides bagged lunches to people in need through their “Back Door Ministry.” The window, located in the church’s back parking lot at 235 West Washington Street, represents a “window of hope” to many, yet it’s funded entirely by donations.
Director Glenda Rose described what people expect upon showing up at the little pantry.
“A cup of coffee and a drink, a protein of some sort, and we also want to give them a fruit,” Rose said.
Every day that it’s open, the program sees up to 60 homeless, or just hungry, individuals line up outside the window.
“Many of them are just lonely and they enjoy seeing us and they talk about the smile we have and we try to share God’s love with them,” Rose said.
The ministry boasts ample quantities of food, water, hygiene products, and even clothing. However, as the little window continues to make a big difference, it’s also facing big obstacles.
“We have to have security here for our volunteers,” Rose explained.
This security represents a critical but pricey part of operating the pantry smoothly. It costs the small church about $22,000 for one year — something that hasn’t been an issue until this year.
“We were fortunate enough to have someone, in the past, that volunteered, an anonymous donor, who took care of the cost,” Rose said. “But in the last year we have not had that.’
Leaders need to hire two police officers to monitor the 9:30 a.m. pick-ups in order to keep the communion, fellowship, and smiles alive.
“We’re seeing some hardships,” Rose started. “And we certainly want to continue to help these people.”
The ministry is completely donation-based. The church has received large supplies of food and other products from neighbors, so money to cover the cost of security is their primary need right now. You can find more information about “Back Door Ministry” online or by calling (804) 733-7484.