Filling a need
This is an installment in a series about how the economy has impacted services provided by groups and agencies in Harrison County.
What started at New Salisbury Christian’s Missionary Church as a food giveaway for 25 families has nearly tripled and now includes a monthly meal.
Libby Tucker, with her husband, Terry, spearheads the mission work that has developed since March 2008 when she and Paul Walerczak, who was pastor at the church at the time, discussed starting either a food pantry or a soup kitchen. (Filling in during the Tuckers’ absence are Bill and Cindy Breeden.)
‘Paul wanted us to serve the people,’ Libby Tucker said.
The first year that the church offered the food giveaway, it was ‘helter-skelter,’ she said. ‘We let people pick their own items’ from the food pantry shelves and helped them load the items, creating a time-consuming process.
Now, a team of seven to 10 people from the church, which has an average membership of between 100 and 120, meet a day or two before the last Saturday of each month to fill dozens of boxes with staples, such as canned meat, soup, vegetables, cereal, bread and kitchen supplies like aluminum foil. Sometimes, fresh produce is put in the boxes.
‘We started out doing 25 boxes, then we had a lot of people come,’ Libby said. ‘We were giving out between 60 and 65 (boxes).’
In the last few months, the number of requests has dropped to about 45.
The boxes are given on a first-come, first-served basis on the last Saturday of the month beginning at 5 p.m.
‘We can start a little earlier if everything’s ready,’ Libby said.
The food items, which Libby orders each month, have come from Dare to Care in Louisville since March of last year.
Persons can come for a food box as well as a meal, which concludes at 6:30 p.m., or just one or the other.
‘We don’t require any form of ID,’ Libby said. ‘If they think they need help, they’re welcome.’
In the summer months, the meal often consists of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Libby said they prepare an Easter meal centered around ham, and a turkey highlights the November meal.
Fifteen to 20 people from the church help with the meal, which sometimes is purchased by church funds, sometimes donated by church members and other times the food comes from Dare to Care.
The Rev. Randy Coleman and Garry Ballance, pastor and associate pastor, respectively, at the church, are there monthly to talk with those who come for assistance.
Libby said sometimes they talk about health concerns and employment situations.
Last month, 119 people received assistance at the church.
‘There’s always enough food to eat,’ Libby said.
Some of those who have been aided have sent donations to the church after they’ve been able to go back to work ‘for the times they were helped,’ Libby said.
‘We hope we’re ministering to people’s needs,’ she said, ‘that we’re providing some of their basic needs.’
For more information about the monthly food giveaway and meal, call the church at 347-3017 or visit its website, www.nscmc.net.