Good Samaritans help church's pantry survive

November 13, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

The anonymous good Samaritans keep calling, bringing cash and carloads of food to help the Rev. Dennis Hancock keep open the pantry he runs in a building next to his Brooklyn church.

A week ago, the Brooklyn Church of the Nazarene's pantry faced having to scale back its operations, and possibly closing its doors.

Except for a few cans of green beans, corn and sauerkraut, the shelves were bare. There was no meat, no turkeys for Thanksgiving baskets. A $2,000 bill for utilities and food bought on credit waited to be paid.

Things have turned around, though. Shelves are again filled with canned and boxed goods. There are enough turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets, and enough money to pay off creditors.

"We're in the black. We won't be owing anybody by the end of the day," Mr. Hancock said Friday. "The community's response was really overwhelming."

The pantry in the 100 block of Audrey Ave. received $2,000 the first three days after a story about its troubles appeared in The Sun Monday, Mr. Hancock said.

Monarch Roofing in Brooklyn Park was one of the neighbors that responded.

The company usually buys turkeys for its employees. Linda Fleming, company vice president, read the story and decided Monarch should buy 10 extra turkeys for the pantry.

"What goes around, comes around," Ms. Fleming said. "If you do something it comes back to you. The good Lord takes care of us all."

Calls to the pantry also have come in from Maryland's Eastern Shore, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., after a local television news station picked up the story, Mr. Hancock said.

Several organizations, a store in Laurel and churches have contacted him and want to donate food on a regular basis.

In August, Mr. Hancock incorporated Spring of the Spirit Inc., so he could seek grants for the pantry while at the same time preserving his church's tax-exempt status.

The pantry is open to anyone in need, from alcoholics to the working poor, the elderly on fixed incomes to single mothers with small children.

It is also a emergency-food distribution site for Baltimore City Department of Social Services recipients. Sundays, the church offers a free hot meal.

Some of those who have brought donations this week chose to remain anonymous. They walked up, donated their gift and left, Mr. Hancock said.

They turned down tax receipts offered so they could write off their donations.

"They really gave from the heart. Most people just wanted to do something," he said. "We say, 'Thank you very much,' and we appreciate their donation."

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