The food pantry ministry in the Schweitzer UMC Outreach Center has served over 1,672 walk-in families this calendar year and supplies food for an additional 18 area pantries. As the community’s needs have grown, so has Schweitzer’s needs to formally address how best to care for outreach recipients.
Before the renovation Outreach Center was housed in what was originally an auto repair shop located at the back of a former car dealership. The “Display room” now houses administration, leaving the largest portion of square footage to be utilized as a food pantry, emergency shelter, outreach center, and future contemporary worship space.
By transforming a portion of the open warehouse-type space into a contemporary worship center, the entry and food pantry area was able to be transformed into a respectful and venerable “meet and greet” zone. This gesture promotes dignity and provides a much needed welcoming face to the Outreach recipients.
The worship space takes on a refurbished contemporary feel by maintaining the exposed ceiling and preserving the concrete floor, yet now incorporates updated lighting, welcoming finishes, and a state of the art audio-visual system. An under-utilized space was converted into an easily accessible and friendly prayer room. The entry will be emphasized with a ribbon soffit floating over the meet and greet counter. The counters will double as a service counter throughout the week.