Religion News: Crozet Churches Collaborate to Fill Unmet Needs

Bins are ready to fill at several locations around the area. Deb Short, a member of the Crozet Region Interfaith Council, checks out the donated personal and home care supplies at Denise Ramey’s office in Clover Lawn. Photo: Malcolm Andrews.

Deb Short is a volunteer at the Crozet United Methodist Church Grace Grocery, and she’s become familiar with the needs of the clients who come through the free, well-managed food line. It’s set up so people can help themselves, a system that honors individual needs and avoids waste.

Tastes differ, so not everything appeals to everybody. But every so often, Grace Grocery is able to offer non-food items like soap, detergent, or paper towels. “When we have them, everyone takes them,” Short said. When a committee representing ten of Crozet’s churches started meeting to discuss community needs and collaborate on filling them, some members contacted Love INC for ideas. Love INC is a non-profit agency that connects churches and individual volunteers with people who have a variety of concerns and needs. 

Ray Klein, Love INC’s long-time leader, had no doubt about the greatest needs of our community’s less-fortunate members. He confirmed Short’s experience: Those struggling to provide for themselves and their families are in great need of cleaning supplies, both for personal care and to maintain the cleanliness of their households. 

No one should go hungry in Crozet, thanks to the many food ministries, but there wasn’t a collaborative effort to provide the non-food items vital for health and self-respect to people unable to afford the increasing cost of paper products and cleaning supplies. Thus was born the Crozet Cares Closet.

The closet collaboration coincided with the opening of the Scott House at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The church is using part of the space for the newly established Rockfish Gap Food Pantry, but there was more than enough space to house the non-food supplies, said Susan Duke, Emmanuel’s representative on the Crozet Region Interfaith Outreach Council. Initial plans are to open up the Scott House on the first Saturday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m. for distribution. 

Plans are for this service to begin in July; and the organizers are betting that the people of Crozet will fill the bins placed at Crozet Baptist Church, Denise Ramey’s Real Estate office at Clover Lawn, and Emmanuel Episcopal Church with enough products to stock the shelves. The bins are in place now, and cash donations are also appreciated.

To start, the organizers are seeking these products:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Dish detergent
  • Household spray cleaners
  • Laundry detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Bar soap
  • Hand soap

Volunteers are always welcome, and do not have to be affiliated with any church. Email [email protected].

Crozet Region Interfaith Outreach Council

Joint projects like the care closet require the dedication of an ecumenical group of volunteers, representing churches willing to share resources, needs and ideas. For the past six months or so, just such a group has been meeting, resulting in a shared commitment to projects that benefit Crozet’s most vulnerable citizens. Churches involved in the outreach council so far are Crozet Baptist, Crozet Fellowship, Crozet United Methodist Church, Church of the Holy Cross, Emmanuel Episcopal, Hope Presbyterian, Lebanon Presbyterian, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Nicholas Orthodox, and Tabor Presbyterian.

The Council invites all area churches to send a representative to the meetings, and to participate in the Care Closet. For information about joining the Council, email [email protected]. 

Small Blessings

The April Crozet Gazette featured a story about Rob Langdon, who is restoring the cemetery at Piedmont Baptist Church, and included an address for donations to this important historical preservation work. We heard from church member Alice Hill, who said the church gets its mail at a post office box rather than its physical address. Send mail to Piedmont Baptist Church P.O. Box 593, Crozet, VA 22932. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here