ENID, Okla. — After 20 years at the former Bethany United Methodist Church site, Shepherd’s Cupboard food pantry now is continuing its operations at Christ United Methodist Church, 2418 W. Randolph.

The food pantry, once billed as the second-largest food pantry in the state, had provided boxes of groceries to people in need twice a month out of the Bethany UMC building since 2000. But that site, though ideally positioned to serve hungry families on the city’s east side, had a short lifespan after the church closed its doors in October 2019.

With the help of longtime volunteers and donors from Willow View United Methodist Church, Shepherd’s Cupboard continued in operation at the Bethany location through 2020. But with the end of the year, they had to move out.

Pam Howard, who has been helping coordinate Shepherd’s Cupboard for four years, said the problem of continuing without an adequate space was resolved when Christ UMC offered to become the food pantry’s new home.

Jan. 6 was the first time the food pantry operated out of its new location, and now will continue according to the same schedule as at Bethany: 9-11 a.m. the first and second Wednesday of each month, now in the north parking lot at Christ United Methodist Church, 2418 W. Randolph.

Howard said operations on the first day in the new location went smoothly.

“It’s great to have it here,” Howard said. “It’s all on one level, and we have a larger room to work out of here.”

A drawback of the new location is it’s not close enough for longtime patrons on the east side who have walked or ridden bikes or wheelchairs to pick up food. To address that problem, Howard said volunteers now deliver food to patrons on the east side of town, who don’t have their own transportation to pick up from the food pantry.

Quintin Wray, youth pastor at Willow View UMC, said his congregation was glad to be able to continue contributing to Shepherd’s Cupboard, continuing a longstanding relationship between Willow View and the former ministry of Bethany.

“It’s a great outreach opportunity for us,” Wray said. “Our mission is to get out into the community and let people know we care about them. We want to help people any way we can.”

Nellie Martin, treasurer at Christ UMC, said opening the doors to Shepherd’s Cupboard also enabled Christ UMC to continue ministering to the needs of the community, after closing the church’s Children’s Day Out program last year, due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We needed a new mission, and it’s a way to keep our church engaged in the community,” Martin said. “We had the room here, and since a lot of people from Bethany joined here, and they couldn’t find a place to continue Shepherd’s Cupboard on the east side of town, it just made sense to move it here. It’s a worthy mission for us to continue.”

The next food distribution from Shepherd’s Cupboard will be 9-11 a.m. Jan. 13.

Donations to support the ministry can be made to Shepherd’s Cupboard, care of Christ UMC, 2418 W. Randolph, Enid, OK 73703.

For more information, or to sign up for services with Shepherd’s Cupboard, contact Pam Howard at (580) 484-0774.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for James? Send an email to jneal@enidnews.com.

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