Calvary Church opens food pantry

Franklin Nettles, PhD., referred to as Overseer, is the pastor of Calvary Church on Highway 80 in Lowndesboro, Alabama. He and his wife Teresa said they received a message in their hearts to help those in need and founded the non-denominational church in 2014. The congregation is currently 50 strong.

The church has a resource center where they offer free Wi-Fi and computer use, a free notary public service, and a free scanning service as well. 

The center is open every other Wednesday from 2 p.m.-5p.m.

Calvary recently expanded its community outreach even more and opened a stand-alone food pantry. The ribbon cutting was held on June 5, officially opening its doors to the community. It’s now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Nettles and his wife set this pantry up for many reasons. 

“Sometimes people forget their lunch, they can come in here and grab something on the go, or they can sit out here at the church and eat,” Nettles said. With the GE Plant nearby, this makes perfect sense. 

“Also, elderly people have trouble sometimes waiting in lines to get food. And they sometimes receive things that they just can’t eat,” Nettles said. With the free food pantry at the church, the elderly can come by and pick out food that is better suited to their needs.

“There are no lines to stand in; there is no embarrassment, or lists or paperwork to sign up for. You just come up here and pick out the food you need for yourself or your family,” Nettles said.

It is difficult to make healthy food choices with a limited or low income budget, limited transportation and a lack of grocery stores nearby.

People can drive up and get what they need, or drop off what they can spare. It’s neighbors helping neighbors in a community that is practically located in what is now known as a food desert.

The USDA defines a food desert as an area of low-income, where at least 500 people living in a rural area are more than ten miles from a grocery store or supermarket. Food from convenience stores or gas stations are higher in price and contribute to the increased obesity rate of the people living in that area. But because of a lack of nearby healthy options, it might be a person’s only choice.

According to a 2017 study by Feeding America Research, 16.3percent of Alabama’s population is considered food insecure.

The food pantry now at the church was donated by Judge Joy Booth. She is a District Judge in Autauga County and also serves as a Special Circuit Judge for cases involving the Protection from Abuse. Judge Booth is very active in her area and has served on various committees that help both children and those in need.

Nettles and his wife hope to grow and expand the contents of the food pantry to include those items that are beneficial to small children and babies; such as diapers and wipes, and small things that a baby may need in the course of a day. 

Small bags of pet food would also be a good item to drop off at the pantry. Often, a child will offer to give up a meal so that their favorite pet may have something to eat.  These small bags can be purchased at a dollar store, or dollar tree type store for not much money. 

Right now, the church itself is open on Sunday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. If you need assistance, have questions, or just want to help in any way you can, you can give them a call at (334)-523-6789.

Calvary Church is located at 6000 US Hwy 80 East in Lowndesboro, Al. 36752. They can also be reached on Facebook and by email at