NOBLESVILLE, Ind.-- In 2012, Grace Church set a new mission to launch an outreach center for the Noblesville community. Pastors and other community leaders started the Care Center with four services: English as a second language (ESL) classes, vehicle maintenance, referrals and a food pantry.
The seed the church sowed has blossomed!
But as FOX59’s Beairshelle Edmé found, the community's needs have grown, and now the center needs help to continue assisting hundreds of people, including Kathy Schuman.
“They're like sisters and brothers to me,” Schuman said. “They really are, and every week, I get stronger and stronger.”
Schuman heads to Grace Church every Monday because as she puts it, “It's my family here. It is my family.”
Like hundreds of others, she needs a little help and often sometimes with groceries.
The food pantry at Grace Church always provides her with what she needs.
“I don't have that money in my budget to do all those things so it's a godsend,” she said.
During the recent economic recession, these Noblesville pastors realized they had to do something for Schuman and many others, and so the church decided to practice what they preach: feed the hungry.
“From Day 1, we've honestly been really, really surprised,” said Pastor Keith Carlson. “We didn't know if anyone would come. We're sitting in the middle of a big cornfield in the middle of Hamilton County, and yet from day one, we've essentially been at full capacity.”
Every week, Grace Church says it feeds 600 families, and every day people are turned away because the church reaches its limit.
That's why church leaders broke ground last month to convert its gym and expand the Care Center.
“We wanted to be able to step in and help in any way we could to extend care and grace to them and help them get back on their feet,” Carlson explained.
“It's just no questions,” the 78-year-old woman said while fighting back tears. “They see the need and they help and it's just-- it puts a nice icing on the cake on my life.”
Through FOX59’s Pack the Pantries campaign, the church hopes to do the same for thousands of others.
As that community effort happens, the church hopes to do more work inspired by their faith to ‘clothe the needy.’
Grace Church will open a thrift store this summer.
The church is always looking for more donations and volunteers. To learn more, click here.