Living up to its dream of “feeding people, body and soul”, the Community Church of Keyport broke ground on Saturday JULY 20th to construct an addition onto their social hall that will serve as the new Community Center of Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry. The $319,000 project extends the square footage of CCK’s historic Fellowship Hall, so that KMFP can relocate from its outgrown space in St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church.
The 2,403 sq. ft. Community Center will anchor social services, education programs, and food distribution to over 200 families per month from more than 20 towns in the Monmouth County / Bayshore area. KMFP will better serve its clients, with private offices to assure confidentiality, more refrigeration and freezer capacity, public restrooms, and a space for donated clothing. The new larger facility will allow the KMFP to utilize more volunteers and improve its services to people in need.
The relocation has been ten years in the making. Countless hours of fundraising efforts by the nine partner churches comprising KMFP have raised over $208,000 in private donations toward the construction. The project also received a Community Development Block Grant from Monmouth County for $134,375. Keyport Community Church is providing the land for the Center as a lease to KMFP of $1 per year.
Congressman Frank Pallone addressed the happy crowd in attendance at the groundbreaking, thanking the church for stepping up to become the host site for the important work of the KMFP. Speakers included: CCK Pastor Dawn Seaman, Pastor Matt Thiringer, President of the KMFP Board of Trustees, Project Manager Kevin Kernahan, and KMFP Executive Director Isaiah G. Cooper with whom the project was born.
In a serendipitous blessing, CCK also recently became the new home of the Bayshore Lunch Program. Its co-directors, Doreen Minutella and Nancy Mester, are thrilled with the church kitchen and fellowship hall in which to carry out their ministry. “This is our passion. We love feeding people, and we just love helping people,” Nancy explained. The two women and their 50 volunteers have been providing midday food to those in economic hardship for 16 years, and lost their previous space after Hurricane Sandy.
With the presence of both the KMFP Community Center and the Bayshore Lunch Program taking place on the grounds of Community Church of Keyport, the congregation is fulfilling its potential to love and serve its neighbors. The church planted a big garden on its grounds this year; all the plants were donated by a member of another church. Many people are working together at the site of CCK to make a supportive and effective community for anyone in need. As summed up by Pastor Dawn Seaman, “I feel so affirmed in ministry here. We see that our community service is leading to revitalization.”