WARRENTON — Donations will keep a church-run food pantry in Warrenton open for another four months.
Pastor Morris Guiendon of Calvary Assembly of God had said the church would have to close the pantry by the end of July unless they found at least $200 a month to cover electric bills and other expenses. At least one donor has committed to provide monthly donations, he said.
The pantry, which serves around 75 to 100 families each week, was funded for several years by a social service grant from the city through the Clatsop Community Action Regional Food Bank. That money has since run out, and Calvary’s small congregation has not been able to continue to subsidize the pantry’s operations.
Guiendon, who was hired as the church’s pastor last year, asked for assistance from the community and other churches last month. A pet boarding and grooming business in Warrenton answered. Bay Breeze Boarding and Grooming donated $2,000 and is challenging local businesses to match the contribution or contribute what they can.
“I think the food bank is a vital link to many families in this community for having proper nutrition and meals,” said Brandy Gregg, general manager for Bay Breeze. She and owner Liz McKerren came up with the idea to challenge other Warrenton businesses for support.
“We’re a small business,” Gregg said. She hopes other, larger businesses will see the need for the pantry, too. “Hopefully we can get them a couple years of operating money and also cover some of the expenses that they need help with.”
The Warrenton Food Pantry is a partner organization with the larger regional food bank, and it is the only pantry providing food to people in the Warrenton and Hammond area on a weekly basis. Dusten Martin, chief operations officer for the regional food bank, has been in touch with church leaders about the pantry’s financial woes.
Martin is glad to hear the pantry is on better footing than it was in July.
“It sounds like (Guiendon) is getting some support and has some leads on hopefully some more support in the future,” Martin said.
“We’re always poised to jump in whenever we have to,” he added. “That is always a mechanism that is there should the community need us. … Right now we’re here to help support the church in any way we can.”