Church Renews Its Commitment: The WhereHouse Food Pantry Continues Serving People in Need
Renewing its commitment to continue The WhereHouse food pantry and outreach, the leadership team of the Urbana United Methodist Church has announced a transitional plan for the ministry as it seeks a new director and location.
Gaye Carafa, founding director of The WhereHouse, recently resigned as director to accept a full-time career opportunity that will enable her to better support her family. Her resignation took effect Friday, October 21. She plans to continue supporting the work of The WhereHouse as a volunteer and member of the church.
In addition, The WhereHouse must move from its current location, at 1000 S. Edgewood Ave., Urbana, by December 31. The facility will be used by the Rittal Corporation, which is adding about 120 jobs and expanding its Urbana operations to become the company’s North American headquarters.
During the transition:
· Martha Baldosser, the church’s treasurer, will serve as interim director of The WhereHouse
· The WhereHouse will continue food distribution at its current location in November and December. Food distribution will be conducted the week of November 14 and December 12—rescheduled from the usual third week of the month due to Thanksgiving and Christmas
· Beginning January 16, 2012, The WhereHouse will operate from the garage where the ministry began eight years ago, on church property in the first block of West Church Street in Urbana.
· The WhereHouse has discontinued collecting and distributing used furniture and appliances until a new, permanent location is found
· As has been done in years past, The WhereHouse will be accepting donations and providing Christmas gifts to qualifying local families. Applications for families will be available after the November 14 food distribution week
“We are grateful for the vision and tireless effort that Gaye has put into establishing and guiding The WhereHouse ministry through a phenomenal period of growth to meet the needs of local people who have faced many of life’s challenges, including the loss of employment,” said Jim Lillibridge, lead pastor of the Urbana United Methodist Church. “The WhereHouse has grown from serving 33 persons during its first month of existence to an average of over 1,300 people monthly today.
“Because of her passion for this ministry, we’re grateful that Gaye will continue as a volunteer to ensure continued success in meeting the needs and hopes of others in Jesus’ name.”
He added, “I also thank the many churches that have joined the Urbana United Methodist Church in supporting The WhereHouse ministry through monetary and in-kind donations as well as volunteer time.
“We also thank Ludlow Properties, the Shiffer family and Tech II for allowing us to use the current WhereHouse location rent-free for the past six years,” Lillibridge said. “Their generosity has greatly extended the reach and impact of this ministry.”
In the meantime, the Urbana United Methodist Church continues searching for new locations for The WhereHouse, as well as recruiting a new director. Anyone with information about available facilities may call the church at 653-3741.