Al Beech/West Side Food Pantry History


I was not present in 1981 when members of the Church of Christ United first began to collect and distribute food for the needy. I was not here in the Spring of 1982 when the group became known as the Al Beech Food Project or in January 1983 when it was recognized by the Parish Council. I was not at its creation nor did I have the pleasure of Knowing Al Beech. My name does not show up in the Board minutes until February 21, 1989. I was elected President of the Board of Directors on October 2, 1992, to complete the term of Rev. Don Roberts, then pastor of the church of which I am a member, the Wyoming United Methodist. I can offer a fairly accurate account of the history of the Pantry during the past 10 to 14 years, but even that account is open to corrections, additional or deletions by others with a longer tenure and/or a better memory. This summary should be considered a work-in-progress and not complete.

C.D. “Pat” Spiegel, February 16, 2003

Mr. Beech, at 93, asked the question of his pastors at COCU after hearing their sermon, “Starving in the Shadow if Plenty,” “Boys, what are we going to do about this?” He was the first to contribute on a regular basis.

By-Laws for Al Beech Food Project were reviewed and approved at the January 11, 1983, meeting of the Steering Committee for presentation at Parish Council on January 13, 1983.

Two member of the Board of Directors in 1983 who remain members today are Joyce Shiplett and Dorothy Turner, both from COCU.

Membership was opened to any west side church to participate in cooperation with the Church of Christ Uniting. Initial membership included, in addition to COCU, the Forty Fort United Methodist Church and the Wyoming Presbyterian Church.

The November 15, 1983, minutes is the first time the group was called the Al Beech Food Bank Committee.

In February 1984, the COCU Property Committee gave approval for the Food Bank to relocate fro the basement to a storage area behind the stage in the Fellowship Hall.

On March 20, 1984, members from the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church joined the Board. One member from the group who is still active is Oliver London. Rev. Jim Baker, Forty Fort United Methodist Church, also joined the Board on that date. He returned to active membership on the Board from COCU on December 17, 2002.

Al Beech/Food Pantry Updates