NEW HAVEN — A recent grant from the Mason County Community Foundation will enable Jacob’s Well Ministries to continue providing an important service to residents of the Bend Area.
According to Amanda Clark, president of the Jacob’s Well board of directors, the ministry received a $2,000 grant from the foundation to help sustain its “non-food stamp” pantry.
The pantry is one of many services the ministry provides, and gives away items that cannot be purchased with the assistance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The pantry is held on the third Tuesday of each month from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and currently assists approximately 100 to 125 families per month.
The items given at the pantry are things that provide a safe and healthy home, Clark said. Toilet paper and paper towels are among the things given each month, with other staples like laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, bleach and more given on alternating schedules. Diapers and feminine care products are given as needed. The amount of products given are dependent on the size of the family.
The pantry works very closely with Vicky and Lew Nazarewycz of the Bend Area Food Pantry, Clark added. She said by using the same qualifying paperwork as the food pantry, it cuts down on the amount of forms patrons must complete. Vicky Nazarewycz distributes a paper to the food pantry clients, if eligible, that they then present at the Jacob’s Well pantry for the additional products.
The grant received will sustain the Jacob’s Well pantry for approximately seven to eight months. The remainder of the funds will come through donations and money earned at the thrift store that the ministry operates on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Located at 126 Main Street in New Haven, the store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The store offers gently used donated items of all kinds, from clothing to household items, decorations to small appliances and more. Clothing is generally sold for 50 cents, with some larger items like winter coats going for a few dollars. All of the money goes back into the ministry.
Store items are not always sold, however. When residents experience devastation, such as house fires or floods, the local churches know they can use the store as a resource to minister to people in their time of need. Clothing is also sometimes given to the women being released from the Lakin Correctional Center. And when there is an over abundance of clothing or a particular item donated, Jacob’s Well blesses the Mountain Mission, another ministry within the state with their extra, Clark said.
Jacob’s Well is operated by Ministry Manager Nichole Weatherstein, who took over the job in August. Prior to that, Mary Mallett operated the ministry for over 15 years.
Weatherstein not only operates the store, but also accepts the donations coming in, and makes decisions on how to assist people in their time of need. She can also refer people to a number of agencies in the area if it is something outside of the realm of Jacob’s Well.
Volunteers are always needed at the store to accept and sort donations, and to keep shelves stocked. Clark said a commitment of a half day a month, or twice a month, is very helpful.
Jacob’s Well Ministries gives Weatherstein and the volunteers the opportunity to meet more people within the community and see their needs, Clark said. She said she feels the two largest obstacles Mason County residents face are illiteracy and drug addiction. Clark added that their greatest need, however, is Jesus.
“The love of Christ is shown,” Clark stated. “That’s why we’re here.”
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.