First Church at Court Square is closing at the end of December and the congregation is disbanding, for all the same reasons so many older churches have closed. I really can't picture Court Square without First Church, established 1819, although I'm sure the building will be preserved.
Since 1977, First Church has also provided a home for the Open Pantry's Emergency Food Pantry, and hosts the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen on weekends.
The Food Pantry is an essential food resource for low-income people in Springfield, providing them with a balanced meal for a few days. Last year the pantry served nearly 28,000, half of them children. A third of the households that come to the pantry have at least one working member. 10% of pantry recipients are elders.
This is going to be a rough winter for poor people. It'll cost $200 to $400 more to keep warm this season. Food prices are rising. And there's less of everything to go around.
So the Emergency Food Pantry needs a new space, affordable or donated. Any offers?
On a related note, I see that the old St. Francis Chapel on Bridge St. is going to be the overflow shelter for the Worthington St. Shelter operated by the Friends of the Homeless. Wasn't it only this past April that the Open Pantry asked for use of the same site as a home for the Warming Place shelter, about to be evicted by the city from the old York St. jail, and was denied? Why is it that the city (and Friends of the Homeless) can catch the ear of Bishop McDonnell and the Open Pantry can't?