New Food Pantry Comes To Rockaway
By Miriam Rosenberg
The Rockaways have a new food pantry. The Celestial Church of Christ, located at 214 Beach 90 Street in Rockaway Park, began to distribute food to those in need in the community on Monday, January 13.
Evangelist Ike Ozuome, who is in charge of the program for the church, said that the church has been in the community for approximately seven to eight years and originally came up with the food pantry idea about three years ago.
"We’ve been looking for what we can do to help the community," said Ozuome. "We have to see to it that something is done to help those who are needy among us. That was the reason we came up with food, because we know everyone needs food."
The Claddagh Inn, the oldest food pantry in the Rockaways, supplies the food to the church free of charge. The only requirements that each person who comes to pick up food must meet are that they sign a register and show an ID.
On January 13, about 50 people came in for assistance. The following Monday that number increased. One woman heard about the church’s food distribution at another food pantry in the area.
"There’s two panties that I go to for the week," said the woman, who would not give her name. "Each one helps me get through until my food stamps come again the next month. This way, all I have to buy is mainly meats, seasonings, potatoes and stuff like that. So it really helps me out."
Nine volunteers including Ozuome and his wife Sinota Koniran Ozuome (who ministers to those who come to the pantry by leading them in prayers) work at the pantry.
But Ozuome points out; bringing people into the church is not the aim of the program.
"We want to minister to people," said Ozuome. "Not just by giving out food. One of our ways to reach out to people is to feed them spiritual food. Which is through prayers. The program is not about religion. It’s about all people – Christians, Muslims, Jewish, even non-Christian organizations and those who don’t worship God. That’s what the program is all about. We are all children of God."
The church distributes food on Mondays between noon and 1pm. For more information you can call (718) 634-4705, (718) 634-8539 or (347) 731-2493.