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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Belfry builds connections through students with food and conversation

Reverend Portia Hopkin (left), is pictured with Africa Smart, a first-year business management major (right), who was on her way to her tutoring session on April 12 when she heard about the free lunch being offered to City College students located on Sutter Road. Smart said “she hadn’t had time to eat breakfast because she is a mom who works full time and barely made it to class, so the free meal was helpful.” Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Philip Dorofeyev, a third-year psychology major was on campus on April 12, when three girls walked by and told him the church across the street was serving food. Dorofeyev said, “Slava Bogu,” which in Russian means “praise God,” because he said “it was literally a God sent.” 

Every Monday and Wednesday Dorofeyev is away from home all day at school so he has to spend money on take-out and fast food, which he said “adds up quick.” As a  full-time student, he cannot work many hours, so free food Dorofeyev said “is welcomed any day of the week.”

All Saints Episcopal Church near campus has partnered with the Belfry Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry by opening its doors to students by offering a free lunch on Wednesdays, as well as a barbecue picnic-style lunch on the second Wednesday of every month from 11:30 to 1 p.m. 

All Saints Episcopal Church welcomes students to stop by for a free, “no strings attached” Barbeque lunch on April 12. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Belfry is supported by four different funding services, the Lutheran Synod, the Episcopal Diocese, individual churches and people from the community.

Betsy McElroy, one of the chaplains for Belfry, said that the ministry originated out of UC Davis and has been at Davis for around 50 years. In the fall of 2022, Belfry decided to expand their ministry by serving students at City College.

Their goal, said Mcelroy, is to build a connection with students. “Belfry is a safe, affirming place for all students to come to find support they need in any shape or form, all free, no strings attached.”

McElory said that what she was hearing from students was a need for conversation and community, food and essential items. She said they can offer all of that along with an essential pantry with a variety of items like hygiene products, shampoo, laundry detergent and deodorant.

Betsy McElroy, one of the Chaplains for Belfry, stands in front of the City College Library telling students about the free barbeque lunch being held on April 12 at All Saints Episcopal Church on Sutter Road. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Lachlan Still, a Library science major, and also a member at the church, said “The essentials pantry is open anytime that All Saints is open during the week. You can also email a specific item that you need and they will acquire it for you.”

Reverend Portia Hopkin, the associate priest at All Saints, said that some of the challenges they are currently facing is that it is hard to get the word out since they don’t currently have a club on campus. Until they meet that criteria, they have to tell people word of mouth about their free lunches.

According to Hopkin, Belfry has had a slow start building a student relationship on campus but feels that it has grown over the current semester. 

Belfry Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry, in Davis, has plans to renovate a space at All Saints Episcopal Church near City College that would give students a place to come to who want to feel connected to a community. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

The church has a space that is currently being renovated that Hopkins believes will be a good place where students can come to sit and study, “an alternative from going over to Starbucks,” she said.

Belfry’s last barbeque of the semester will be held on May 10, right before finals.

Hopkin’s hope for the future is that “this would be where people can gather to feel more like they are a part of a community.” 

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About the Contributor
Ellie Appleby
Ellie Appleby, Assistant Photo Editor
Ellie grew up around photography in upstate New York. Both her father and grandfather were photographers themselves. Her first experience taking a photo was in a vegetable garden taking a portrait of them arm-in-arm together.
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