The Bradley Food Pantry at St. James Episcopal Church will remain open five days a week while the pantry leadership seeks a new location to meet a growing need.
Church officials said it will be separating from the pantry but will allow regular pantry hours to continue for as long as “reasonably needed.” This means the pantry, at 605 Fourth Ave. in Bradley Beach, will be open weekdays 10 a.m. to-noon and Thursday evenings 6 to 7 p.m. to serve clients and accept donations as usual.
The news follows last week’s notice by long-time Food Pantry Director Linda Curtiss that she is stepping down after learning of intentions to limit pantry hours.
“My vision is, and always has been, to feed as many people and to have as much food available as we can logistically and financially afford to do,” she said. “I’m happy to rescind my resignation and extremely grateful to St. James for their interim support as we search for a more suitable location.”
The church leadership acknowledged that the pantry, which began 40 years ago, now exceeds the church’s limited resources and physical capacity to meet current needs. They noted that what began as a small, informal offering has grown “into a large and vital feeding program that serves thousands of clients each year and provides food security and hope for the vulnerable in Bradley Beach and surrounding communities. We are honored to have been a part of this and we give thanks to God for the opportunity to serve and make a difference.”
Recognizing and expressing appreciation for all who contributed to the growth, culminating with Curtiss’ tenure and vision, the church in a statement said, “We believe that it is time for the church and food pantry to separate, and for you [Curtiss] to remain the executive director in a new location, with the capacity to build and expand this ministry to serve those in need in new and exciting ways. We are sad to lose this close connection to the Bradley Food Pantry. We recognize that the pantry has the potential to offer so much more and remain deeply committed to its success and survival.”
Curtiss expressed deep thanks to the church leadership for their decades of commitment to the pantry and their gracious plan for its transition.
“We’re all grateful to be able to continue to serve our patrons without disruption while we prepare for the next chapter in the wonderful story of the Bradley Food Pantry,” Curtiss said.
She and her volunteer team are moving forward in creating a distinct non-profit for the new Bradley Food Pantry. They welcome ideas for a location that furthers the Pantry’s vision of “serving our neighbors in need with kindness, respect and dignity.”
She encouraged anyone who can help in securing a new location to contact her at email@example.com.