One Great Hour of Sharing helps feeding ministry meet growing needs

Since the Emergency Food Pantry at Cameron Community Ministries, Rochester, N.Y., was founded in 2012, the number of families it served grew from 251 that year to 1,237 in 2013, 1,853 in 2014, and more than 2,000 in 2015. Cameron is an American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) Neighborhood Action Program (NAP) Christian center.

“Last year another emergency food pantry in our area closed, which led to an even larger increase for us,” said Jennifer Muniga, Cameron’s executive director. “As a result of this closure, our local food bank tried to reallocate some funds to us, but the funds were marginal, and it has not covered the gap of what we need.”

Enter One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), which honored Matthew 25:35: “I was hungry and you gave me food.” More specifically, ABHMS, on behalf of American Baptist Churches (ABC) USA, awarded a $10,000 OGHS Feeding and Shelter Grant to ABC of the Rochester/Genesee Region for distribution to Cameron Community Ministries.

Thanks, in part, to those funds, Cameron will be able to serve more than 2,000 families who need the Emergency Food Pantry’s services. Cameron feeds 510 individuals per month, or 170 families monthly, based on an average family size of three. According to Muniga, $100 feeds three families three meals per day for three days.

Cameron Community Ministries maintains client dignity by allowing clients to choose the foods they enjoy, rather than forcing them to take certain items. The ministry seeks to provide a healthy variety of fresh foods—instead of high-fat processed foods—offering recipes to clients who desire cooking guidance. Feedback forms allow clients to express opinions about the process, foods available, recipe outcomes and personal treatment.

“Thank you for feeding me when I needed help,” said a Cameron client. “When people come for food, sometimes it is embarrassing. The experience here at Cameron is different. The staff is very kind, and you are treated like a person.”

Additional information about ABHMS’ NAP Christian centers is available online.

For more information about OGHS Feeding and Shelter grants, contact Victoria Goff, ABHMS national coordinator of Disaster-response Ministries, at or 800.222.3872, x2449.