Local churches come together to serve community
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 12:57

Pleasant Zion, North Point Baptist hold food pantry

by Ben Boehl

    Despite a fire that nearly destroyed the Pleasant Zion Baptist Church building back in April, the church is still holding its food pantry — but in a new location, thanks to a neighboring church.   
    The Pleasant Zion Youth Outreach Center’s Food Pantry moved its location to North Point Baptist Church, 4201 North Point Blvd.
    Debora Atkins of Pleasant Zion said that North Point Baptist Church and its pastor Mark Swan offered Pleasant Zion pastor James Gray the use of its facility.
    Pleasant Zion already had a temporary home at Shiloh Baptist Church in Edgemere, but it needed a new location for the food pantry. 
    After meeting with Swan and his secretary, Atkins and Pleasant Zion were allowed to use the North Point Baptist building in the colder months.
    “We were supposed to move on Nov. 7 but had to move a week early because of (Hurricane) Sandy,” Atkins said.
    Swan said he was happy to lend the space out to Pleasant Zion.

“They approached us with the inclement weather, and we have a building on our property that was our original church building,” Swan said.
    Swan added that he has developed a relationship with Gray and Pleasant Zion.
    According to Swan, the churches were separated by less than a mile, but never worked together until now.
    “God used a fire to create a marriage between the two churches,” Swan said.    
    “It shouldn’t take a fire to get the white church and black church together that are on the same street.”
    The Pleasant Zion food pantry is held every Wednesday all year long. After the fire, Pleasant Zion was able to hold the weekly event outdoors in the summer months.
    “We ran off of fate. We are partners with the Maryland Food Bank. They gave us the trailer that we were using,” Atkins said.
    “We also get food from the Giant [supermarket] on Merritt Boulevard, The Mars on Holabird Avenue and the Food Lions [in] Essex and Edgemere.”
    Pleasant Zion is still looking for food donations and those items can be dropped off on Wednesdays.
    Now with a building, Atkins said the pantry will continue year-round, and weather shouldn’t be a factor.
    “We are open Wednesdays no matter what,” Atkins said. “If the weather is bad on Wednesday, we will open up on Thursday.”
    The Pleasant Zion church building at 4317 North Point Blvd. is scheduled to reopen in December, but Swan said Pleasant Zion can hold their food pantry at North Point Baptist as long as needed.
    “We are in the same business, but we are not competing against each other for the souls in Dundalk,” Swan said.
    “I think this is a beautiful picture of race relations between a white and black church. It’s a picture of what heaven will be like.”