November of 2000 God placed on the heart of Keena Trapps founder of the Widow’s Pantry to reach out to church members and friends that she knew were struggling financially with food for their homes. Keena’s vision started when she approached a church member who did not work, who had three children and her husband had just lost his job about their need for food on Thanksgiving. Keena was obedient to God and purchased their Thanksgiving meal and enough food to last them for a couple of weeks. Through her obedience to God, He showed her how He wanted to use her.
As Keena mediated on how God was using her, He gave her the name, “The Widow’s Pantry” from a sermon she heard taken from the scripture I Kings Chapter 17 verses 7-16. This is the story of a widow and her son who were about to go through a famine. When you get a chance read the story. That story reminded her of when she was a struggling single parent and how God did not allow her and her son to go to bed hungry not one night, just like the widow and her son in the story.
Over the years Keena helped many friends and complete strangers with food to last them a couple of weeks under the name of The Widow’s Pantry. The only requirement is that the recipient would sign a document that said this was a gift of love and nothing is wanted in return and that the recipient would not hold The Widow’s Pantry or anyone associated liable for any injuries.
Taking it to the Street!
On Christmas Day 2008 family members joined together for dinner and there was so much food left over that it just felt like a sin to the Founder of The Widow’s Pantry. Keena suggested to family members that on next Christmas they would go out and feed the homeless. It was agreed upon to do so, and Keena did not let the family forget their commitment.
Christmas Day 2009, Keena and family members set out with 35 sandwiches, soup, home made Christmas cookies, bottled water, and Christmas cards with written prayers inside to bless those in need. After visiting Franklin Square Park, clearly it was evident there was a need to continue this effort. So we did for a couple of months during the winter and summer. The following Christmas 2010 other family, friends and church members joined in the give back and we all left feeling like we had made a difference. Starting 2011, we decided to do a give back with a meal every month.
Today, the Widow’s Pantry serves the needy at Franklin Square Park and the Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, DC every second and fourth Saturday’s. The menu can consist of sandwiches, hot dogs, soup, beans and rice, fried or baked chicken, fried fish, spaghetti, vegetables, chili, bar-b-que, cornbread, snacks, fresh fruit, chips, hot tea, ice tea, and we have once served snow cones.
We provide seasonal clothing, coats, shoes and toiletries. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we provide special gifts like purses filled with make up and jewelry, toiletry bags, free haircuts and manicures. At Christmas and throughout the winter we sponsor a coat drive to present new or gently used coats, hats, scarves, and gloves to children, women, and men in need.
We provide spiritual encouragement and information resources by our Evangelistic Team. Every three months we host a revival that includes guest speakers, liturgical dancers, musicians, and singers from local churches across the Metropolitan area and our Widow’s Pantry volunteers.
On November 12, 2013 The Widow’s Pantry was registered with the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs as a Corporation.
On June 30, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service recognized The Widow’s Pantry as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.
Over the last six years we have successfully assisted over 10,000 people with our services. What a long way from that family of five Keena Trapps helped back in 2000.
Consider having a 20-minute Widow’s Pantry presentation for your church, sorority, family, or organization to see how you can give back and serve those in need as a group.
THE WIDOW’S PANTRY
“Serving God’s people with love and dignity”