Grace is a founding member and major supporter of the Bath Area Food Bank. The BAFB offers two related services: the Food Pantry, and the Soup Kitchen. In the past, the BAFB has also run a Clothing Exchange, which it hopes to reopen once a new location is found. Parishioner Kimberly Gates is the Executive Director of the Food Bank.
The Food Pantry, located in the UCC/Faith Community Church off Congress Avenue, provides self-selected essential food to any needy family living in the Bath area. When available, fresh fruit and vegetables and bakery goods are distributed as well. The Pantry is open Tuesday and Friday from 5:00-7:00 PM. Pantry volunteers stock shelves and assist clients with food selections. The Pantry also provides a “food closet” in local schools to provide food for students who do not have adequate food at home and sometimes no food between Friday and Monday morning when school starts. Grace staffs the Food Pantry approximately 6 Tuesdays and 6 Fridays each year.
The Soup Kitchen, located at the First Baptist Church at Elm and Washington Streets, serves lunch to anyone who comes in and provides take-out meals for those unable to come. It is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00-12:00 noon. Soup Kitchen volunteers help to prepare and cook meals, serve clients, clean up and put away.
Volunteers find the Pantry and the Soup Kitchen open and welcoming places to work. There is a pleasant camaraderie among the volunteers and between volunteers and clients. One volunteer said after his first day, “I am so glad that I did this. It was so rewarding. Lots of times when you volunteer it lacks real personal contact, but here we get to connect with people, and the satisfaction is immediate. I really feel that I contributed to something worthwhile. I will continue to come.” People can volunteer for as little or as much as they choose.