As soon as you walk into the pop-up pantry of United Christian Ministries in Middlebury Center, you are overwhelmed with a sense of calm and acceptance. The same energy comes from its founder, Virginia, who also goes by “Sister Jenny”. A small woman with wispy blonde hair and a soft voice, Sister Jenny opens her heart and her shelters to anyone wanting. “We have clothing, we have furniture, we have household items. We have practically anything anybody would need and now we are able to give food,” she states.
United Christian Ministries started small and has grown tremendously throughout the years. Sister Jenny remembers the ministry’s humble beginnings fondly. “Oh my. It’s been since 1985, I guess. I had a spiritual awakening, a call,” she remembers. Her first degree was in Business Administration, so she owned many businesses. When Sister Jenny felt she needed to do something else with her life, she sold her businesses and invested the money in the buildings that now serve as a beacon of hope to so many in the community.
“About two and a half years ago, we bought this place and it became our outreach center.” The outreach center in Middlebury Center has clothing for those in need, including men, women, children and infants. Most recently, the outreach center has become a pop-up food pantry for families in the area who need help gaining accesses to food.
“When the [Food Bank] were doing the emergency food distribution due to COVID-19, that’s what was apparent- that there was something that we needed to do in this area, too,” comments Sister Jenny. “And so, we started doing just that. Our first experience was 456 cars!”
Sister Jenny says that she is so grateful for the partnership United Christian Ministries has with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “I think it’s a wonderful thing,” she comments. Thanks to this partnership, United Christian Ministries has been able to meet the needs of so many families who are struggling during this time. “There’s a lot of people out there who really are suffering. There’s a lot of people out there who really don’t admit it.” Sister Jenny says of the distribution site and the food bank, “our concern is the need. All we want to do is pass the blessings on.” Together we can do just that!
How can you lend a helping hand?
- Support our efforts as we feed children and families in need by donating today.
- Host your own Virtual Food Drive and help many more of your neighbors in need by raising funds for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Every dollar counts!
- Give the gift of time by volunteering. Volunteerism is critical to the core mission of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and our partner agencies.
Originally published by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank: Source