Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Lowman Church and Pantry to Close
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
LOWMAN (WENY) -- The Lowman Methodist Church has stood tall since the 1800s. It was built by Jacob Lowman, a direct descendent of the town's founders. However, now the historical landmark's future could be in jeopardy.
The church joined the United Methodist Church in the 1950's and now, the UMC wants to shut it down.
"There's not much left in this town after that," said Elizabeth Ackerman of Lowman. "You close these doors and what do you have as far as community based anything?"
The church was handed down to the community in 1894 after Jacob Lowman died. It's become a staple in Lowman and home to a food pantry and community lunches.
"This is a real community. It's not just people who live next to each other. It's people who care about each other," said John Ackerman, Elizabeth's husband.
Nancy Blake was married to a Lowman descendant, and opened the food pantry 13 years ago.
"I get so much more out of this than what I actually put into it," said Nancy. "And they say 'Oh, you work so hard' and I say, 'It's not hard. I love what I do.'"
Elizabeth says the food pantry helped her through a very difficult time in her life.
"Having people care for you like that, who are basically strangers, that just doesn't happen a lot in the world any more," said Elizabeth.
About 60 families rely on the food pantry every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. It's the only one in Lowman. Pantries in neighboring Elmira are already feeling the pinch of food stamp cuts with more possibly coming in a new Farm Bill.
"I just want to know what we can do to save this church," questioned John. "Is there somebody out there that can help?"
Nancy is keeping faith that her church and pantry will stay open, but she is thinking about other ways and places she can run it for the dozens in need.