Partner Spotlight: Christian Storehouse

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

The Christian Storehouse in Millsboro may be off the beaten path, and even though it’s a block or so off busy U.S. 113, for more than two decades it’s been a destination for those in need of food. It’s also a local landmark for the community that supports it through donations or by shopping at the agency’s thrift shop.

12_15 Christian Storehouse photo1webSteve Smith, director, who has been with the Christian Storehouse since its humble start as an emergency food pantry, can elaborate on the changes he’s experienced over the years.

“It came into existence to meet the needs of those in need. We operate on stewardship principles. We not only help with food, we help with electric bills, water bills, prescriptions,” he said.

Rachel Pusey is credited with founding the Christian Storehouse as an outreach of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; early on, five local churches supported the mission. Now there are 16 supporting congregations.

“In the early years, we served the entire county including Georgetown and Milton, but now it’s just the 19966 zip code only,” said Smith.

Christian Storehouse administrators also work closely with the state service center to meet the needs of households.

Today, people in the community donate clothing and home furnishings to the thrift shop on Mitchell Street. Proceeds from those sales help fund operating expenses.

“Until July, we served 250-275 families a month, regularly. In September, October and November, we have been inundated,” he said, pulling sheets of records from his desk drawer.

Those documents show that the Christian Storehouse helped 365 families in September, 379 in October and 408 in November.

“Where are the jobs? It’s been six years, and now where are the jobs? We’re a seasonal economy, and we a12_Christian Storehouse Photo2webre seeing people we have never seen before. Electricians, plumbers, they can’t find work,” he said.

“I think the increasing need is going to be massive. We are just beginning to see the increase.”

In addition, Smith explained, more elderly people are coming in for assistance.

“It’s very difficult for them, but we do more than just hand them food. We establish relationships, and we embrace them. We do this year ‘round.”

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Filed under Hunger, Hunger-Relief Partners, Poverty, Programs

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