In the community

Pastor seeks to build partnerships to establish homeless meal site in Ontario

ONTARIO – The Rev. Rob Walters of the Nampa First United Methodist Church said he intends to create a local coalition of nonprofits and agencies to resurrect the New Hope Kitchen at the former Origins Church.
“We are looking for people who want to serve a community on the fringes, that want to provide food and a warm space and some spiritual care, people invested in that kind of ministry work,” said Walters.
Walters’ church is part of the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church, which in October took over the Origins Faith Community Church building, at 312 N.W. 2nd St.
Origins Faith Community Church operated a meal site that served more than 100 meals a day to the local homeless population. The church also offered showers for the unhoused.
When the United Methodist Church took over the church building, it closed the meal kitchen.
Now, said Walters, the conference and his church are seeking grants and help from the community to reopen the kitchen.
“When Origins went out of business, the grants and the staff went with them. All those people and staff and money is all gone,” said Walters.
That means opening the kitchen, while still the ultimate goal, will take time.
Walters said he also does not view the food kitchen as a separate arm of his ministry. Instead, he said the focus is to start a new church.
“I’m not necessarily looking at it from the perspective of just a food site. I am looking at it as food inside a ministry,” he said.
He said he wants to develop a “deep pool of volunteers with some staff support that provides meals to the community.”
“That means there needs to be a church there. I’d like to see it be a community partnership where we work with volunteers and churchgoers at the site,” he said.
Walters said the church faces repairs and renovations for the Ontario building. Repairs to the building’s boiler cost $2,000.
He said building needs roof repairs, upgrades to the lighting system and an asbestos inspection.
“Some of those issues need to be addressed before you bring people in,” he said.
Right now, he said he hopes to open the church this spring.
“The trick is I have to develop a partnership to make that happen,” he said.
Walters said he wants to hear from those in the community who “have a heart for this kind of ministry work.
Walter said anyone interested in helping develop partnerships with his church an go online to or call 208-467-1151.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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