Pulpit Stories: TBOL
In August, The Bread of Life Ministry, based at First United Methodist Church in Springdale, received national attention when a news brief highlighting its community garden project, appeared in USA Today.
The brief appeared in the Monday, Aug. 16, issue, in the “Across the USA: News From Every State” round-up.
Janell Hustead, with First UMC – Springdale, said volunteers were “pleasantly surprised” to discover the mention in the national publication.
“It has heightened the awareness and interest in the community garden project,” Hustead said. “Many people have inquired about the community garden project and TBOL.
“Service groups have asked how they may become a part of the project. We can always use more volunteers, whether it is as a gardener, mentor, counselor or simply to fill the grocery orders of clients. The more people involved the better.”
The community garden is a pilot program, administered by The Bread of Life volunteers. In the program, people work 42 garden plots located on city-owned land, harvesting the results.
“The purpose of a community garden is to provide those folks who do not have a place to grow a fresh produce with a spot,” Hutstead said. “Like the White House Garden, the project gives people fresh produce which many are unable to afford.”
What is The Bread of Life Ministry?
As an outreach ministry, The Bread of Life is primarily a food pantry and USDA commodities distribution site for Washington County.
Staffed by volunteers, under the direction of Kathi Ickes, the ministry provides clients with a three-day supply of food each month.
When possible, the ministry also provides assistance when electric disconnect notices and eviction notices.
The ministry began 18 years ago, when a small group within the church recognized the needs of people within the Springdale community and wanted to find a solution.
It now provides assistance for an average of 225 to 250 families on a weekly basis. Last year, more than 45,000 clients found assistance through the ministry.
“The Bread of Life not only meets the food and shelter needs of its clients, but more importantly, it helps with their emotional and spiritual needs as well,” explained Hustead. “Clients must meet with a counselor each time they visit. These counselors offer suggestions to help them improve their current situations and offer a prayer at the end of each visit.
“This is always handled in the most respectful, compassionate and caring environment to preserve the client’s dignity.”
Want To Learn More?
The Bread of Life Ministry is open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and is located at 208 W. Emma Avenue, Springdale, Ark.
For more information, call 479.750.5299. Additional information can be found at www.fumcwired.com
Pulpit Stories appear on the Northwest District blog on Wednesdays. Have a story from your congregation you would like to share? Visit the submission form at http://www.nwdist.org/ps_submissions/.