Second in a series of Blogs celebrating 5 yrs of ministry at Wadley UMC. (It helps me grieve, and not beat myself up, which I do quite well, thank you.)
As I said in the last post, when I came here the Food Bank was closed. One of our first moves was to reopen the Food Bank. The funding of the food bank came from a grant given the Cooperative Parish from the North Alabama Parish, the churches of the Parish, other churches, the government and individuals. We regularly serve about 26 persons or more regularly. We follow the guidelines of the USDA due to purchasing of USDA foods. No person is turned away due to race, religion, or creed. We have had several plants close in our area, which is already majorily depressed, so when those have occurred we have had more persons using the food bank, and we opened more often. Plantation Patterns which makes wrought iron furniture (which by the way is very good furniture) is a seasonal employee, so we serve their employees when they are laid off. If there is an emergency, a house burns, illness, etc we immediately provide food and other items as necessary. One of the things we have been able to accomplish lately has been to get fresh food for the Food Bank, thanks to the work of the East Alabama Food Bank. It has been some really good fruit and veggies, and then it has also been on the verge of being too ripe. But we sure are grateful for it, and so are those we serve.
We also have been involved with the ministries of St. Andrews, especially the Potato Drop. Our foodbank has been recipients of their gleamed foods also good friend Rachel Gonia who is the Alabama coordinator, came and preached here about Hunger and the ministry of St. Andrews, my members were quite generous to that ministry. That day one of my men who owns his logging company, offered his service and trucks for hauling food items to where it was needed. Wow. If you don't know about St. Andrews or are not involved in it here is their link for you
When we reopened it was two of the church members and me involved. Now we have nine members involved. It has been a delight to work with these dedicated people, and with those in need.
We applied for, and got a grant to help persons trying to get off welfare and going back to work or getting a GED, or needing clothing, etc to get back to work. We also offered counseling, helping with applications, getting them to the agencies and resources they needed to do this. ( You know its a mine field like navigating FEMA or any of the other government agencies.) We have been able to help a few, but most were not interested or were the elderly. Recently, we have made a connection with the GED program at Southern Union Community College here in Wadley, and have begun to help those who can't afford it to get their GED. Because as you know if you don't have an education, you aren't going anywhere, especially here in the South. One of the new graduates is already moving up where she works. YEA.
The title is the verse Matthew 25:37, which comes from one of my favorite yet most challenging passages Matthew 25: 31- 46.
Lord, may these people continue to see you hungry and give you food or the means to get the food. May I as your Pastor continue to be sensitive to those who are hungry. And may I lead the next church in this ministry so as to minister to you. Thank you God for the opportunity to serve you.