Faith Fellowship United Methodist Church in search of new location

0
130
Brenda Allard sorts through jeans at the Clothes-to-Go Clothing Pantry in August. Recently, the Faith Fellowship United Methodist Church, which runs Clothes-to-Go and Food-for-All, was told it would need to leave the space it shares with United Methodist Church. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Faith Fellowship United Methodist Church, along with its two nonprofits, will soon be in need of a new home.

The church announced earlier this week that it has been asked to leave Knight Hall, the space it had been sharing with United Methodist Church in North Attleborough since 2017, by June 30. Pastor David Arruda said that United Methodist has not given a reason for this decision. Faith Fellowship utilizes a downstairs space at United Methodist, using half for its services and the rest for its two nonprofits—Clothes-to-Go and Food-for-All.

So, we’re honoring the request,” he said on Tuesday.

Jeni Johnson is the Director of Clothes-to-Go and said this and the Food-for-All ministries will also need to move from their current location by June 30. Because to this, all donations will be temporarily put on hold starting May 1.

Both programs service needy families in North Attleborough and more than 20 surrounding communities, as well as Rhode Island. In addition, they offer help nationwide and even overseas. Recently, 19,000 pounds of clothing was shipped to the refugees in Ukraine, Poland, and Moldova, as part of outreach done through the Russian Evangelical Baptist Church in Westfield. They have also sent clothes to Mozambique, Liberia, and Cape Verde. Clothes are donated to Rhode Island Hospital for patients who have theirs removed or damaged during medical procedures.

It is a generous community that can do a lot of good in their community and beyond,” said Johnson.

First United Methodist declined to comment on the matter. Faith Fellowship’s services are described as “non-traditional relevant worship style,” and people are encouraged to “come as they are.”

Organizers at both non-profits said the news was unexpected and are focusing on finding a new home. Food-for-All Director John Greco said this does create a problem, as they can’t provide the all of their services without a location. Organizers can possibly continue making meals for those in need by using different home kitchens, but other types of outreach are more challenging.

We don’t need any interruptions on this,” he said. “We’re talking about people going hungry.”

Johnson said that people sometimes stop by just to talk, and volunteers like Greco work full weeks at the non-profits.

Faith Fellowship is run on a budget of approximately $65,000 a year, and so price is a prime concern for a new space. Around 2,000 square feet of room, heat, electricity, bathrooms, parking for the volunteers, and a kitchen are all that is needed. Arruda said a ground floor location is ideal, but one above that would be an option, so long as there is an elevator. Several sites have already been looked at, but were turned down due to price.

We’re trying to figure out how we can keep open while we find a new home,” said Arruda.

Clothes-To-Go was started by Linda Jacobson and Joyce Niemi at the Faith Fellowship United Methodist Church in Mansfield. It later moved to the lower level of the United Methodist Church in North Attleborough, sharing space with Food-for-All. Over the years, nearly 3 million pounds of clothes have been donated. Pastor Arruda said that none of the clothes are sold, a decision that has seen people give even more.

So we’re helping more people and allowing more people to be helped,” he said. “They see results and donate more.”

Food-for-All made $768,000 worth of donations over the last year. Each month, approximately 8,000 meals are served, and churches as far north as North Andover and south as far as New Bedford receive donations through the program. When Lenore’e Pantry had to briefly close for repairs, Food-for-All helped out with donations.