The Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries (GWCM) was formed in 1997 by eight local churches / faith communities. Their aim was to cooperate in local social ministries to meet identified needs in the community. We now number 13 faith communities.
The food pantry program of GWCM was an outgrowth of separate efforts by each church to give food to those in need. The Colonial Manor United Methodist Church hosted our first jointly supplied pantry open to the public, which provided emergency food aid to community families on the weekend when both governmental and other voluntary organizations are closed.
GWCM opened its own food pantry in 2002, located in the center of Woodbury on North Broad Street on the Friends Meeting property (in the SODAT building), to distribute food on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Though in very tight basement quarters, this site became the main food pantry and the number of families served increased. Also provided from this location were clothing and household items, through an effort called Jeanette's Closet.
In 2007, with the construction of the County Justice Complex adjacent to the Friends/SODAT property, GWCM was forced to find a new location for the pantry. God provided the solution when the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Barber and Evergreen Avenues in the east side of Woodbury, offered their ground floor for use as an outreach effort. This is now GWCM's Main Food Pantry and includes office space, a packing room, a large room for assembling client cartloads and specialty food offerings (during pre-Covid it was a client waiting area), and an extensive parking lot. This location is served by 2 NJ Transit bus routes.
Jeanette's Closet continued to operate out of the Friends/SODAT property until it was flooded a number of times. It was shut down for years, until the Central Baptist Church agreed to provide space in the church school wing of their facility on Jackson Street in the West End section of Woodbury. Jeanette's Closet reopened in 2021 (amidst Covid) following a year of effort to bring the non-damaged remains from the old location. Help was provided by the Boy Scouts.
The food pantries are intended to provide emergency food relief. In addition to food, guidance is provided to clients in accessing the support of government, utilities, and community assistance. The Main Food Pantry complies with all requirements of the Food Bank of South Jersey.
In addition to the food pantries, the GWCM has been involved in a number of other community projects including ecumenical worship services, Vacation Bible School, a high school Peace Essay Scholarship, a children's summer lunch box program, and a Handy Helpers program to assist seniors and disabled with household chores.