The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 25, 2008

Shepherd's Cupboard food pantry is 2nd-largest in Oklahoma

“It’s a God thing,” said the Rev. Rose Marie LeRoy about the work of Bethany United Methodist Church with Shepherd’s Cupboard food pantry.

Shepherd’s Cupboard is operated by the church and is the second-largest food pantry in the state.

LeRoy is a licensed local pastor, but is not an ordained minister. She previously pastored Cleo Springs United Methodist Church.

Originally from Pittsburgh, she said ministry brought her to Okla-homa, where she and her husband have lived for 20 years. There are 176 members of the church, and the average attendance is 56 on Sundays, although attendance has grown in the five years she has been pastor. At the time LeRoy be-came pastor, there was discussion of closing the church be-cause of declining attendance.

But the pantry has remained open and has grown in the nine years of its existence.

“We got to be the second-largest food pantry in the state by the grace of God,” she said.

Food is handed out twice a month on Tuesdays. A group of volunteers gathers about 9:30 a.m. for a devotional, then the food is handed out starting at 10 a.m. They finish around noon and are provided lunch by additional volunteers.

“We know some people through the devotionals and some of them have become members,” LeRoy said.

However, those who have become members of the church through the food pantry cannot afford to tithe much, she said, and although they work in other ways, the church has had financial problems, going about $2,000 in the red each month. It is nearing the end of its savings.

During a recent interview, LeRoy took a telephone call from a person who needed a Thanksgiving dinner. LeRoy referred the person to someone who has a dinner to give away.

Her job is operating the food pantry part of the time; however, as a licensed family therapist she also is busy with pastoral care.

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