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AACCM renovating building to increase pantry space

Pretty soon, the inside of the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry will look a lot different.

The local ministry was founded in January 2001 and its purpose is t feed the hungry in the community. The AACCM is a non-profit organization that feeds approximately 250 families a month.

The renovation of the ministry building, which is located next to the National Guard Armory, will entail moving the current food pantry into the existing sanctuary, or main worship space. The move comes because the ministry has outgrown its current pantry space.

“We are going to right now, we’re taking the sanctuary in to provide a larger food pantry,” Project Manager James Helton said. “Currently, we’ve outgrown the space we’re using inside of the building.”

Helton said big walk-in coolers and freezers will be set up in the sanctuary for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Helton said the new pantry space will be located inside the sanctuary as well, adding that right now, the goal is to get the space ready for the new additions.

“The area that currently houses the pantry will be closed for job interviews, and a space for computers for online job applications or for VAs (veterans affairs) for people to do with those arrangements,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good ideas for the spaces.”

Helton said the ministry visited Prodigy in Spanish Fort, where they’ve got a lot of stuff implemented.

Helton said at present, the ministry is running on volunteer help to clean out the space, but will be seeking bids from contractors that complete minor projects.

Helton said the project also includes better lighting in the sanctuary, or pantry area, along with a wash station where the kitchen is located.

Helton said it’s important to have the opportunity to feed the community.

“One of the problems we’re running into now is the quantities of food to hand out,” he said. “If you lived at home, and you had 14 teenagers and having to buy food for them, you have to bring in large equities of food. The turn around is quick.”

Helton said the AACCM’s long-range goal is to purchase a vehicle to be able to go and get food and bring it back to the ministry.

“There are a lot of people in need area,” he said. “There are a lot of people that are truly stretching their dollars to make ends meet, and often times food doesn’t fit in the equation.”

Helton said the AACCM’s doors are always open to visitors who are interested in seeing it in action.