The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Stocking shelves

Pantry founders offer choices

Lucy Lampinen and Brenda Henning recall the congregation’s initial reaction to their idea to start a food pantry—and it’s not a pleasant memory. “They said, ‘It’s not going to work,’ ” Lampinen recalled, referring to members of Faith Lutheran Church, Rock, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “But Brenda had the same feeling I did, that there were people who needed this.”

At first the naysayers seemed to be correct. For six weeks, beginning in May 2006, not a single person came to the pantry. Finally one woman arrived. “After that first person, word spread,” Lampinen said. “By the end of the year, we were serving 22 families.”

Part of the pantry’s success stems from a high level of respect given by its operators. “We make sure to treat everyone the way we would want to be treated,” Henning said. “At one time I needed to use a pantry, and I didn’t like the way I felt going there. I don’t want other people to go through that.”

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March issue

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All are welcome