COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Storage is necessary for food pantries like Uptown Outreach Ministries, located on 2nd Avenue, to do their job. But the non-profit experienced a huge loss towards the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had a refrigerator that just quit functioning and we were operating without it, which meant we weren’t able to keep less food,” said Uptown Outreach Ministries Board President Jerry Brown.
The food pantry, part of St. Luke Methodist, 1st Presbyterian, and Trinity Episcopal churches, wasn’t able to get as much produce causing less food to give with more mouths to feed.
“The frequency to which we have to go get it, means that our volunteers have to commit more time to traveling and obtaining food rather than serving the clients directly,” said Brown.
The Mt. Hermon Lodge fraternity heard the food pantry’s struggle near Thanksgiving. The group just so happened to have a refrigerator they could no longer use for serving meals due to COVID-19 and decided to help them out.
Everyone’s kind of in a bind with things going hectic, it’s the holidays, and we wanted to be able to make sure that the food pantry got all of the support it needed to give back to the community on their side,” said Brandon Hurst, Master of Mt. Hermon Lodge.
Volunteer Joseph Johnson said the food pantry, like many others, have struggled through the pandemic.
“We’re supposed to serve 20 per session, which would be 80 a week, used to sometimes we would have 25 and it’s hard to turn them away, but now sometimes we just have 6 or 8,” said Johnson.
Brandon Hurst said times like these are more important than ever to help and give to others.
“Charity doesn’t stop just because the pandemic begins, charity will remain going strong - that’s one of the biggest tenants of free masonry is relief,” said Hurst.
The two organizations are now connected together, just through one deed.
“We’ve driven past the lodge several times, and now when you drive there you just have a different feeling, when you go by there is this connection,” said Brown.
While the food pantry and the mason lodge don’t have anything currently planned together, Brandon Hurst with Mt. Hermon hopes to in the future.