Church sends skilled workforce into own backyard to help others

Mike Duggan, one of the ministers at the Markle Church of Christ, is among the more than 50 volunteers constructing a 5,376-square-foot building on the church’s property, enabling the church to save “several hundred thousand dollars” on the project. The new building will be used not only by the church, but also by The Master’s Pantry, a Markle-area food pantry, and Jennifer’s Closet, a clothing ministry operated by Karing for Kids.
Mike Duggan, one of the ministers at the Markle Church of Christ, is among the more than 50 volunteers constructing a 5,376-square-foot building on the church’s property, enabling the church to save “several hundred thousand dollars” on the project. The new building will be used not only by the church, but also by The Master’s Pantry, a Markle-area food pantry, and Jennifer’s Closet, a clothing ministry operated by Karing for Kids. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A Markle church blessed with an abundance of skilled workers often sends those people out into the field to use their carpentry skills for others.

They’re currently working on another project, but this time they haven’t gone any farther than the church’s own back yard.

They’re working on what Mike Duggan, adult ministries and administrative minister at the Markle Church of Christ, calls a “multi-functional storage barn.”

And while part of the building will, indeed, be used for storage, the new structure will also serve as a permanent home for a food pantry and a clothing ministry.

Work on the 48-foot by 112-foot building, which will give the Markle Church of Christ an extra 5,376 square feet, is being done mostly by volunteers.

“When it’s all said and done, there will be 50-plus volunteers,” Duggan says.

Most of the volunteers are members of the Markle Church of Christ.

“They come after work or on their day off or on Saturdays,” he says. “Some of them are retired, and we have farmers that have the time to do it right now.”

All told, Duggan says, the volunteers are saving the church “several hundred thousand dollars” in construction costs.

The money that is being spent is staying in the area, he adds.

“We’re trying to buy local and we’ve used local contractors on a few things,” he says.

Duggan says the church has been kicking around the idea of a new building for several years.

“We needed storage, was the first reason,” he says, noting that the church is currently renting storage space.

Timing and the economy kept getting in the way — until an anonymous donor provided the money to pay for most of the building.

Ground was broken in October and the building is expected to be enclosed around the end of December. Duggan says the interior will be completed sometime in January or February.

That’s when the food pantry and the clothing ministry will move in. Both are projects the Markle Church of Christ is associated with, but neither is solely sponsored by the church.

The Master’s Pantry is a food pantry operated jointly by the Markle Church of Christ, Markle United Methodist Church and Union Church. It was previously located in downtown Markle but is currently operating out of temporary quarters.

Once the Master’s Pantry opens at the Markle Church of Christ building, that’s where recipients will pick up their food.

“The volunteers will go in, grab their boxes and take them out to their cars like they do now,” Duggan says.

The new building will also house Jennifer’s Closet, a clothing ministry that is part of the Karing for Kids organization.

“They work out of our church, but it’s a separate ministry,” Duggan says, explaining the relationship between the church and Karing for Kids. “We are their biggest supporter, and they use our building.”

Jennifer’s Closet will store its clothing in the church’s new building, and those in need there will be able to come there to shop.

The building will also house storage and a workshop for use by the church, a bus garage and a kitchen that can be used in the church for activities such as picnics and youth soccer games.

This isn’t the first time that the Markle Church of Christ has put its skilled volunteers to work.

Duggan notes that the church’s Family Life Center was also built by volunteers. The volunteers have also worked on about a dozen mission projects involving construction both locally and overseas, he says.

“You use the talents that you have,” Duggan says. “We have some guys that are very talented in that.”