COMMUNITY MISSION OUTREACH, INC.
HISTORY

There was a need to have a group in the community to centralize helping the poor. In 1984 Rev. Richard Coldwell and Donald Moore attended several meetings with the ministerial association at the Presbyterian Church in Proctorville Ohio. They were trying to get something started for the area. Their plans didnít seem to be going anywhere at that time.

Rev. Richard Coldwell and Donald Moore of the Chesapeake United Methodist Church and Rev. Tom Tomblin of the Burlington United Methodist Church met at the Chesapeake United Methodist Church and made plans to start a food pantry for the Chesapeake and Burlington area. A meeting was set up of interested members from both churches and the food pantry was organized in February 1985.  The name Community Mission Outreach (CMO) was chosen for the food pantry. Rev. Richard Coldwell and Rev. Tom Tomblin wrote letters to the churches in the area inviting them to be a part of the CMO. I believe 15 letters were mailed. Five churches responded and became a part of the group. They were Big Branch United Methodist Church , Chesapeake Church of the Nazarene, Chesapeake Christian Church, Defender United Methodist Church and St. Ann Catholic Church.

 Trustees were elected and Eugene Wilson and Alice Moore were made co-directors of the pantry. The first trustees were Donald Moore, Opal Butcher, Thurston Swann, Arvena Kaneff and Rodney Butcher. Tax exemption status was applied for and granted as a 501 (c) (3) organization by the IRS. Membership to the Shared Harvest Foodbank in Fairfield , Ohio was requested and approved and a contract was signed. USDA commodities were received from them and items donated to the foodbank could be purchased for $.12 lb. Food was also purchased from local wholesale grocery warehouses. The CMO received corporation status as a non-profit organization with the State of Ohio in April 1985. Richard Meyers handled the legal work for the CMO at no charge.

 The sponsoring churches furnished financial support and donated food and clothing as well as supplying the volunteers to operate the pantry.  The village of Chesapeake let the CMO use City Hall to house the pantry. Food was stored on the first floor and clothing in the basement. The community was very supportive of the food pantry and clothing closet with their donations.

 The amount of food available for purchase from Shared Harvest Foodbank became scarce and the foodbank membership was changed to the one in Huntington . After a short period of time the available food from the Huntington Foodbank dwindled and the amount available from Shared Harvest Foodbank increase and the membership was changed back to the Shared Harvest Foodbank at Fairfield Ohio .

 When the middle school moved from the old building in East Chesapeake , Rev Steve Gill and others from the community worked with the school board to use the old building for a community center and for the food pantry. When the community center opened in 1989 the food pantry moved into the new facility. The kitchen was used for food storage and distribution.  Two rooms were used for clothing distribution and rooms upstairs for storage.

 Shortly after moving to new facility a walk in freezer was added. This has proved to be a valuable asset. It has made it possible to distribute large quantities of frozen food to the needy families coming in for help.

  Pomaria Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church of Burlington joined the churches sponsoring the Community Mission Outreach.  This made a total of nine sponsoring churches.  Other churches help from time to time especially at Christmas.

 As the number of families being served grew the kitchen became too small for storing food and distributing it. With nowhere to expand, one of the clothing rooms had to be used for food storage.  All the clothing had to be crowded into one room limiting the selection of clothing available to needy families.

 The number of families coming to the CMO for food has steadily increased over the years. In 2004 over 750 families in the area looked to the Community Mission Outreach to help them feed and cloth their family. Families were helped over 2100 times with food in 2004, and at Christmas over 500 families received baskets of food, and toys for families with children.  At Easter, baskets are made up and distributed to children of needy families.

 In February 2005 the CMO celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Many of the volunteers had been with the CMO since it was started in 1985.