The Lord’s Pantry fed an average of 100 homes each week for many years. It began as a ministry of Hampton Heights Baptist Church approximately 25 years ago and was completely supported and sustained by Church and Community donations. As one of Rockingham County’s largest food pantries, this ministry has assisted literally thousands of food insecure homes for many years. Its founder Gyp Collins, a former county magistrate began this ministry to assist families who were struggling financially as he saw the daily struggle in the hearts and homes of Rockingham County Residents.
In June 2015 the building in which The Lord’s Pantry was renting became unavailable. Also, with the struggling economy locally and rising costs, the Pantry knew that in order to maintain its service to the residents of Rockingham County changes and reorganization was very much needed. Through all of this process, Mr. Collins who was, 88 years old felt that it was time to retire. Although his heart for the needs of others and his passion for feeding the hungry remained strong, his body and mind have grown weary. Mr. Collins has been assisted for these years of service by a serving Executive Board that have also sacrificed their time, energy, and assets for God to use in this ministry. Mr. Nelson Hairston, 85, Jack Strutton, 83, and Craig Dishmon, 50. Due to either their age or present circumstances, these men also felt that it was time to step down from their “hands on” management responsibilities at The Lord’s Pantry. “We didn’t want to see the Pantry close, and we didn’t want to step down, but we knew that the Pantry needed younger leadership to continue on if this ministry is going to last”, said Mr. Hairston.
Torrey Easler who at the time was the Pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church was the newest member of the Executive Board and in the prime of his ministry. During an interview recently Easler said; “I became involved with The Lord’s Pantry because of the immense need that I see each week with those within our church as well as all of the calls we receive from hurting people in need. Our Church began supporting The Lord’s Pantry several years ago on a regular basis and then we have hosted a benefit singing for them. Not long after that, I was asked to join the Executive Board and so about a year and a half ago I consented to serve on the Board. During one of the last board meetings my heart was broken for the need of this ministry and I felt the Lord calling me to do whatever it took to keep this ministry going.”
The Lord’s Pantry moved and reopened in September of 2015 in a transitional building, an old abandoned Laundry Mat located on the Spray Community of Eden. “We really didn’t have any funding at the time and the building rent was only $100 per month. It was all we could afford.” By mid-October The Lord’s Pantry was serving between 75-100 families each week from this small location.
Another move was necessary and The Lord’s Pantry relocated to Early Avenue and began serving in a Church Building that had been closed. “This located was strategic as it allowed us to begin serving hot meals. It was also a great location as many of our clients live near this facility.” This move was not the only move to take place. It was during this time that Executive Director Torrey Easler felt the need to resign as pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church and devote his life calling to this ministry.
In February, The Lord’s Pantry changed its name to the Rockingham Rescue Mission. When asked about this Executive Director, Torrey Easler said, “We wanted to reflect the true nature of this growing ministry and that it is our goal to provide much more than food. We chose this name because we feel that God has primarily called us to the residents of Rockingham County, or at least for our headquarters to be located here. We also wanted to reflect the nature of our ministry as we seek to Rescue men, women, and children that we find in crisis and we all are facing a spiritual crisis and need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we wanted to express our ultimate vision of the first “Rescue Mission” to be established in Rockingham County where we help families and individuals with many needs from homelessness to medical needs to employment needs all based upon the Bible and the fact that Christ loves them!
We are currently working with over 600 families each month and providing them with groceries from our Food Pantry, hot meals from our Kitchen Ministry, and health care from our Medical Clinic. We will soon begin the next phase of our ministry and that will be a transition to a Day Shelter where we will be open every day to assist the community and to reach families in need for Christ.
Statement of Faith
Rockingham Rescue Mission was built on faith in God. We know that without His presence in this ministry, we would not succeed. Here are our most basic beliefs. For us, they are not just suggestions but they are the foundation of how we live, and work.
Our most basic belief is that only one real God exists. He is loving and holy. We believe that He is the Maker of everything in heaven and on earth.
We believe that God is three persons – God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. This three in one is known as the Holy Trinity.
We believe that God has two main guidelines for us to follow in our lives: The Great Commandment – to love Him with everything that we are and have and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
We believe that the Bible is God’s letter to us. God wrote it using men that He had chosen, and it is without any mistakes. In its pages, God shows all of us His amazing plan for restoring people to what He had planned for them to be. (Here at RRM, we want to be a part of that restoration process!)
We believe that Jesus is God and came to earth and became a man. God knew that we could never pay the price for our sin. He loves us so much that He gave Jesus, His own Son, to die in our place and take our punishment. God, in His awesome power, then brought Jesus back to life. He went back to Heaven where He sits beside God the Father and speaks for us.
We believe that the Holy Spirit comes to live in everyone who believes in Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us power and helps us as we learn and grow in our beliefs. He also tells us when we’ve done wrong (as we all do) and helps restore our friendship with God.
We believe that we all do wrong – we sin. When we come to Jesus and tell him about those sins, He forgives us. Upon trusting Jesus as Savior we receive the right that when we die, we will live forever in Heaven with God. This forgiveness really does rid us of all our sin and makes us God’s children.
We live out our beliefs by loving our neighbors as God loves us. We want to meet them where they are in their lives and help them find their way to the arms of their loving Heavenly Father.