The "shepherd’s pantry" inside Gospel Baptist Church

The origin of the food pantry began with a vision carried out by Debi Chappell, Bill Chappell, Donna Edwards and Laura Johnson.

ARCHDALE — An expression among certain religious circles holds that when a community is in need, God provides.

For one local church and a new food pantry, the need looked like a room with four walls, no shelves and a plethora of food. That is, until those shelves were provided.

Now at the “shepherd’s pantry” inside Gospel Baptist Church at 9042 U.S. Highway 311, that room is neatly organized with a bevy of non-perishable food items sitting atop shelves that were what congregants are calling an answer to one very specific prayer.

The food pantry has been in operation for nearly a month, and Bill Chappell, one of the church’s deacons, says all it needs now is members of the community who are in need to claim the fruits of their labor.

“I tell the pastor and all the deacons we’ve got a supply of food coming, but we don’t have shelves yet,” Chappell said. “So that night we just prayed about some shelves. Next day, one of the deacons calls and says, ‘My brother has a garage full of shelves. If you want them, you can have them.’ Our room is full of shelves now.”

Interest thus far in the pantry, Chappell said, has been sparse, but he knows that can change dramatically in short order. As the holidays approach, he and his wife Debi are ramping up for an anticipated influx in the days following.

“We’re hoping that come the turn of the year, and probably into February, that things will pick up,” Chappell said. “Once you go past Baker Road, there’s no other church that we know of that has a pantry or a food source. There is a church close to us that does feed people every Wednesday, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken pot pie. … But we only live a few minutes from the church, so if somebody calls us, we’ll beat whoever it is to the church. Whoever is hungry, come, we will feed you.”

Families who may need food items are encouraged to make an appointment with Chappell or his wife. The couple is eager to continue their mission. Appointments are to be made by calling the Chappells at 336-848-0051 or 336-259-4128.

Gospel Baptist Church can also be reached at 336-431-6584.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

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