River Oaks Community Church makes large donation to local pantry

Published 12:10 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

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By Larry Stombaugh
For the Clemmons Courier

Andrew Wild, the executive pastor at River Oaks Community Church, along with three other individuals from the church, delivered a check in the amount of $25,000 last Thursday to Kathy Kovack, the executive director of the Clemmons Food Pantry. Both Kovack and Steve Eller, who is the president emeritus of the pantry, were on hand to receive the check at the pantry, and both of them were overwhelmed by the amount of the check and by the generosity of the local church that is located on Lewisville-Clemmons Road.

After receiving the check, Kovack remarked that it came during a time of critical need. “This is wonderful timing because donations were light in February,” she said, while also noting that River Oaks has been a consistent contributor to needs at the pantry. “They have been a long-time community partner,” she said.

Eller had similar sentiments and was ecstatic by the amount of money that the church had raised. “It is awe inspiring,” he said. “We’re excited when we receive a check for $50 so we’re overwhelmed by this contribution. We’re thrilled that River Oaks considers us a part of the community. They are a wonderful community partner.” Eller went on to note that the pantry could face a significant increase in activity if folks in the community lose their jobs due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on local businesses. “Families and children could be greatly affected,” he said.

Wild noted that the donation to the food pantry was part of a fund-raising campaign at the church that extended beyond building expansion projects at the church. The program known as “Beyond Our Walls” allocates a portion of money received at the church to provide financial assistance to local community services such as the check presented last week to the food pantry.

“It’s important that we as a church are not just inner focused,” Wild said. “We want to be outer focused.”

Wes Tuttle, who is the Worship and Missions Pastor at River Oaks, noted that the church has a long-standing relationship with the food pantry.  “We’ve been a supporter financially and we have had volunteers working here for a number of years,” he said. He noted that church leaders are excited about the new building that is being built for the pantry, and they saw a need to support the pantry financially.

The new pantry will be a 6,000-square-foot facility near the current location on Old Glory Road. The current building is 2,200 square-feet and is quite overcrowded especially when clients are served. The pantry is open to receive clients on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Last year, volunteers picked up 641,000 pounds of rescue product from local grocery stores. For fiscal year 2019, the pantry served 31,714 people.  This was due to the efforts of more than 300 trained volunteers including 20 of them who gave an average of over 15 hours a week of their time.