EASTON — In just about a month, generous community members have given thousands of dollars to help Asbury United Methodist Church complete its interior renovation work and reopen its kitchen, which is vital to the church’s food ministry.
By Thursday morning, Oct. 15, the amount raised through Historic Easton’s GoFundMe page for the church totaled $16,445 — an impressive amount, but still far short of the $75,000 needed.
Before the coronavirus struck Maryland, the church was preparing and serving meals to 125-150 people in a typical week — shut-ins, homeless, anyone needing help — as part of the Talbot Hunger Coalition, a group of seven churches dedicated to feeding the hungry. While all seven churches provide volunteers and resources, the cooking was done out of Asbury’s kitchen. Those efforts came to a sudden halt in March when everything was shut down due to COVID-19.
One of Talbot County’s many historic buildings, the church was built in 1876.
Historic Easton Inc. launched a more than half-million dollar fundraising project to restore the exterior of the church in 2012, and that portion of the renovation is nearing completion, according to Historic Easton President and church historian Carlene Phoenix. Then they discovered the flooring needed to be replaced.
In addition to new floors, the interior project includes renovating the kitchen, making the bathrooms handicap accessible and installing a new heating and air conditioning system.
With the kitchen closed due to the pandemic, they went ahead and removed all the old equipment to prepare for the new flooring, said Priscilla Morris, treasurer of Historic Easton. The church raised around $13,000 for new appliances and equipment.
The project was on track to be completed in July; then all the prices went up due to COVID, Morris said.
Additional investment is needed to finish the interior work and make the kitchen serviceable and COVID-19 compliant.
The GoFundMe campaign is located on the charity section of the crowdfunding site. The link is https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/asbury-united-methodist-church-easton-md/marybrian1.
Donations also can be sent directly to Historic Easton Inc., P.O. Box 1071, Easton, MD 21601, marked “Building Fund.”