According to Scott Prouty, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls, in the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, readers are called to actively engage in the world around them, so “our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities.”
Prouty added during the general assemblies in 2016 and 2018 the Presbyterian church became convicted of what Matthew 25 said as it challenges people to “act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor."
As a result, First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls signed up to become a Matthew 25 church.
A member of the congregation donated $5,000 to start the program, and a committee, including Dave Danielson, Adrienne Danielson, Nick Brozek, Katherine Brozek, Jenny Bloedow, Don Dagner, Suzanne Menth, Zachary Larsen and Prouty, was established to brainstorm ideas.
One such idea that has come from the congregation was established recently as a way to serve the community as it faces the reality of COVID-19. People are out of work, and access to basic needs is becoming a challenge.
As a way to address that, First Presbyterian Church has established a food pantry. The free food option is located on the steps on the northeast side of the building, and, according to Laura Kohler of the church’s outreach committee, the pantry is full of various items from cereal and pasta to macaroni and cheese, bread and crackers.
Those in the community who are in need are encouraged to stop by and help themselves, said Kohler.
Kohler said the pantry was placed where it is to give people a little more privacy when they come.
“The pantry is accessible 24/7,” said Kohler, adding as of now it has not gotten a lot of use.
However, she is hoping once people learn about it they will use it as they have a need.
In addition to offering items for free, Kohler said donations for the food pantry are also being accepted from the public.
Those who would like to give items can learn how to do so on a sign that has been placed at the church next to the pantry.
Kohler added if people have items they want to donate that might freeze and get damaged are encouraged to contact her before dropping them off.
Kohler emphasized the fact that the food pantry at the Presbyterian Church is in no way competing with the local food shelf, adding it is intended to complement that program. It can help fill in the void when the food shelf is not open.
As interest increases, Kohler said the plan would be to expand what is available, with the intention to keep the food pantry open as long as the community needs it.