ST. LOUIS - The Southampton Church is bringing new meaning to the term "church service" and is making an impact in the community.
"This church is primarily a community outreach facility," said Jillian Embrey, Reverend of The Southampton Church. "So, we're not your traditional church that worships on Sunday morning with pews and organs and hymns, but our ministry is out to the community of Southampton."
The church on Macklind Avenue may have changed its name — from Southampton Presbyterian Church to The Southampton Church — but it is still Presbyterian. While they remain Presbyterian, they now focuses more on a community oriented ministry.
In an effort to help feed their community, the church organized the Southampton Little Free Pantry. An old bookcase that Embrey said was destined for bulk pickup got a fresh coat of red paint a few weeks ago and now lives a new life.
A sign atop the pantry invites patrons to take what they need and implores they leave what they can. And while the case may no longer holds books, it bears a quote from the book of Matthew showing the inspiration for idea.
"For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat."
The pantry has only been in place for three weeks, but Embry estimated it has been emptied and refilled three or four times. She said the program is helping people in the area who need a little extra help, and she hopes it is in a place where people feel comfortable coming to get that help.
"We don't really know what our neighbors are going through," said Adam Wright, a member of the Southampton Neighborhood Association. "Some might need that extra little bit of help, so to have that where they can anonymously take something, I think that's a great resource for our community."
After seeing what a little bit of paint and a simple sign can do, Embrey is hoping the idea can catch on elsewhere.
"I would love to see one of these on every streetcorner and every block," she said, "because it's something we can do for each other to take care of each other."
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