by Mylon Medley, courtesy Adventist News Network
The New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas, has helped address food insecurity in the greater Kansas City area since 2011. Over the nine-year span, its food pantry “Renewed Hope” has grown from a literal closet filled with food to give to people in need who happen to drop by the church to a robust operation that has become a community-staple.
“At first it served 10 to 15 people a week, but then the pantry expanded to up to 800 at a time prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Tamaleaa, associate pastor of New Haven, who also leads young adult and community service ministries.
With the reputation the church has built for nearly a decade as a large, reliable food assistance service for the community, it was deemed an essential
service by the local government when stay-at-home orders went into effect. Many smaller pantries operated out of churches were closed under executive orders.