Bags of Hope
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
Over thirty counties are served by the Mid-South Food Bank. In that thirty-one county service area, over twenty percent of the population struggles with hunger and food security. Of that twenty percent, almost one-third of those struggling have incomes slightly higher than the poverty level but still do not qualify for government assistance programs. Those that do receive assistance only receive an average amount to purchase groceries for a two-week period. Lauderdale County is a county that has been hard hit with poverty, but that has set the tone for the community to come together and make a change.
“There really is a need. You don’t know how many times I hear ‘we really do appreciate this...this is such a blessing’...it touches the heart,” says Cindy Brabec. She is just one of the selfless volunteers doing something to fight hunger and meet the needs of others in the community. “I know there are hungry kids,” says Malinda Pilcher, who can be seen helping to facilitate the smooth operation on Grocery Pass Out Night.
Bags of Hope is more than a regular church food pantry, it's been a way for the community to come together and strengthen itself. “It’s a blessing to our county,” said Regina Hines. “You never know, it could be me...that’s why it’s so important to give back.” Every month over thirty volunteers of every age, color, and religious affiliation come to help facilitate this massive job.
Bags of Hope was born ten years ago and today it has grown to be a mainstay in the community. “We had a small food pantry and people were coming to the church on a very regular basis asking for food.” One of the parishioners, Mr. Ronnie Peck, remembered a ministry from his former church that gave out food to needy families. From that point, he and the parishioners at Ripley First United Methodist Church organized, planned, and met and did not stop to make sure that they did their part to fight hunger in their community. From the initial twenty bags to the hundreds of families that are assisted every month; this awesome ministry has been favored to work with The Mid-South Food Bank as well as ten community churches. Since the inception of this outreach ministry, it’s undeniable that “God’s touch” has been ever present in the pursuit to help the citizens of Ripley and Lauderdale County.
Bags of Hope sign up night is every first Thursday night with Grocery Pick Up Night happening every second Thursday night at Ripley First United Methodist Church. For more information contact the church office at (731) 635-0821