Reprinted from Glocester County Times, Tuesday, April 05, 2011 By Gina Bittner firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODBURY The Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries, Inc., is the 2011 winner of the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce Founders' Cup and will be honored, tonight, at RiverWinds restaurant in West Deptford.
Founded in 1997, the GWCM was formed by eight local churches and faith communities and now consists of Bethlehem Baptist, Central Baptist, Christ (Episcopal) Church in Woodbury, Colonial Manor United Methodist Church, Kemble Memorial United Methodist Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church Holy Angels Parish, St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church at Woodbury, Woodbury Friends Meeting and Woodbury Seventhday Adventist Church.
"We wanted to be able to do things together, to be a witness to our faith," said GWCM's president, the Rev. Christine Regan of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Woodbury. The GWCM provides services for Woodbury, Woodbury Heights, Deptford, West Deptford, National Park, Wenonah and Westville, and though the group's food pantry is their main service, the they offer a variety of help around South Jersey. "We have grown in our outreach, and our faith is nurtured by serving others who need," said Regan. "We recognize through our efforts that love is being shared."
The GWCM food pantries are at two different locations. On Tuesday and Thursdays, clients can come from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church located at 330 East Barber Avenue and Evergreen Avenue in Woodbury. For those who work during the week and cannot come then, there is a pantry open on Saturdays at Colonial Manor United Methodist Church from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
"Food is donated by members of the congregation and even members from outside donate food and finances," said Regan. After volunteers use donated money to purchase food from the South Jersey Food Bank or area grocery stores, they load up bags, stock the pantry and more.
Regan attributes much of the pantries' success to the pantry director, Kathy Cunningham "She has just done a wonderful job organizing and creates such a pleasant environment," said Regan. "It's a lot of work, but they're just so cheerful, so serving," she said of Cunningham's team.
Clients of the GWCM's food pantry can also attend Jeannette's Closet, located at Woodbury Friends Meeting on North Broad Street in Woodbury. It provides free coats, hats, gloves, jeans, pajamas, blankets, shoes, socks, pocketbooks, toys, books, house ware items and more on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Children of in designated areas are eligible to take part in the Lunch Box Program which serves boxed lunches and breakfasts to youth during the summer when free or reduced-cost school lunches are unavailable.
Additionally, Handy Helpers do small jobs throughout the house of senior and disabled citizens. Handy Helpers volunteers meet at the Presbyterian Church, Broad and Centre Streets in Woodbury on the second Saturday of each month, September through June, and work from 8:30 am to Noon.
Finally, the GWCM offers a scholarship to two high school students from Gateway Regional and Woodbury High Schools who's essays on peace are chosen out of those submitted. "The competition encourages people to think about peace," said Regan.
Though the GWCM has continues to stretch their resources to several South Jersey towns, Regan hopes that more congregation members will volunteer and that other outside congregations will begin to help more in their communities. "I think we need more of the congregations to know about what we are doing, so they might become a part of our effort. Then we can reach even more people," said Regan.
Additional information on services can be found at gwcm.org The GWCM will be honored tonight at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and cost $35 per person. The event includes antipasti, pasta stations, beer and wine. Tickets can be purchased at Cettei & Connell, Inc. located at 135 S. Broad St. in Woodbury. Checks should be made payable to Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.