(April 25, 2014) When the Shepherd’s Crook opens its door to offer food and fellowship to the needy, it will be at a new location.
The food pantry of St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church is moving from the county-owned white building on Caroline Street so it may again be used by the county Health Department during the summer season. Its new location is nearby, at 203 S. Baltimore Ave. Opening day is expected to be Thursday, May 1.
“We’re moving to a bigger place with more services,” said Joe Fisher, church sexton. “There will be places where people can sit and a telephone and computers for people to use.”
On Tuesday, Fisher and other volunteers were welcoming the needy and offering the usual four cans or boxes of food plus a few ham dinners left over from the Saturday’s lunch provided by the NOEL community. Those went fast and those who missed out were offered a fresh pasta salad and deviled eggs.
The food was welcome.
“These people are so generous and nice,” said Mark Martin, as he accepted granola bars and cans of Vienna sausages to take with him. “I appreciate everything they do for us.”
Martin has had a rough winter, but expects life to improve, especially if he can find a job. He expects to meet a man Friday about a job at a pizzeria and thinks he has a good chance of becoming employed. He recently had to move out of his rental unit when the landlord increased the rent substantially for the summer season. Landing a job would mean he could pay rent again.
“I think they’re awesome,” said Charles Boone, who goes to the Shepherd’s Crook whenever it is open. “They do a lot for everybody. Many a day, if it wasn’t for them, I’d go hungry.”
“They give food and clothing,” said Derrick Percifull as he accepted some food items before helping himself to a bowl of pasta salad to take to the Boardwalk. “They do a wonderful thing.”
Percifull said he is a very experienced carpenter, but has been unable to find work. He remains hopeful because of the coming summer season.
“Jobs are everywhere now, but what do you do in the winter?” Percifull said. “This isn’t an easy town. This town is hard, man.”
The men went to the Boardwalk to eat their pasta salads. There, they encountered John Cimetta, who had never been to the Shepherd’s Crook, but planned to go after hearing them talk about it.
Unlike the others, Cimetta has a roof over his head each night, but life is still rough. His job working for a maintenance company starts tomorrow and he is looking forward to earning money.
“In winter, you starve here,” said Cimetta, who has lived in Ocean City since 1976. “It’s hard.
Even people with jobs find it difficult to make ends meet, he said.
“Rents keep going up, but the pay stays the same,” Cimetta said.
Those in need and even those not in need financially are welcome at the Shepherd’s Crook.
Although the church must pay rent for the new space for the Shepherd’s Crook, the food will remain free.
“Like God’s love,” Fisher said. “We have never charged anyone for any reason.”
The Shepherd’s Crook was displaced after a Nov. 26 fire, started by a disturbed former client, who set himself ablaze and entered the building adjacent to the church. The fire killed him and the church’s pastor and critically injured a volunteer.