New Year – New Office
The past few years have held a variety of challenges for so many of us – and Ministry Village at Olive has had its share. Through all the COVID-19 ups and downs, MVO scrambled in each ministry to evaluate and address any areas of concern, and figure out new ways to do business. Changes have impacted every program of ministry from the Tender Hearts Caring Hands food pantry clients, the MV Bargain Center donors and shoppers, our MEW attendees, our Charis House ladies and volunteers, and our Early Learning Center kids, parents and teachers. Our dedicated team members and volunteers have pulled together and forged ahead in every way possible, and the Lord has blessed us in so many ways. As we approached the end of 2021, we began to feel like “normal life” was returning…and then, a huge historic tree collapsed on our MVO office building, taking our Showers of Blessings shower trailer ministry and part of our Tender Hearts food pantry with it. Ouch.
On September 16, as our community dealt with days of historic rain totals, a large portion of a heritage oak tree collapsed before dawn onto our MVO office, damaging the roof and allowing rain inside the building. A significant portion of the office roof was damaged, including the garage area used for the food pantry distribution. A portion of the Showers of Blessings trailer was also damaged, with a heavy limb resting on the trailer’s frame. Taking care of our patrons who depend on the THCH food and financial assistance program was a top priority, so with the help of our friends at Olive Baptist Church, we transported food bags each day to the Olive Chapel and ran a makeshift food pantry ministry in that space.
Turns out, having a 300+ year old historic, heritage oak removed is a pretty big deal, and involves a lot of heavy equipment and well-trained workers. Once most of the tree was moved and the building was evaluated for structural integrity, the hard work of repairing the building was underway. As anyone who has endured roof damage from a hurricane can tell you, roof damage during a rain storm leads to wall damage, flooring damage and more. When the flooring was removed for repair, contractors discovered that the subfloor was severely damaged. And that’s how our MVO office ended up with all of its contents stored in a POD storage unit for weeks.
Our team members worked out of spare rooms at Olive, open spots in the Charis House, or from their homes, as the flooring, kitchen cabinets, and office roof were all replaced. During that time period, our new Executive Director – Drayton Smith – joined the team…but without a functioning office space, he began working out of the Chapel at Olive. Repairs and construction continued through the holidays and into the first week of January, when the MVO team was finally able to move back into the fresh and welcoming office space!
There are still a few repairs to complete. The heavy equipment required to move the oak tree damaged the driveway, so that’s on the list. The office spaces are functional, but the interior still needs to be organized and completed. And since the Showers of Blessing trailer (which was owned by My Father’s Vinyard ministry and managed by MVO) was in need of major repair, it has been removed. Kathleen Schuster, Director of the Tender Hearts program, has been looking into options to purchase a replacement shower trailer. “The shower ministry had been very successful, and we had learned a lot in the management of that new program,” said Kathie. “People from all over Pensacola were coming to use it. There are a lot of people who live out of their cars in various parking lots through the community right now. This was a safe place they knew they could come to bathe and get cleaned up for work or job interviews. We really want to be able to provide that service again to our community in the near future, so we are looking for options.”
Thank you for your patience, prayers & support during the time the offices were closed and services were limited. God was faithful and brought us through the daily challenges, and now our office is open and serving our community’s needs again. We have opportunities for volunteers in each of our ministries if you feel God’s call to join us in our work.
- The mission of Ministry Village at Olive is to put the words of Jesus into action throughout our community – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
- Tender Hearts Caring Hands is MVO’s benevolence program, providing family food bags and financial assistance (including rent and utilities) to those who qualify. THCH is also a lifeline to a large number of homeless men and women in the area who depend greatly on the hygiene bags and ready-to-eat food items THCH provides. Family food bags are designed to feed a family of four for 4 days with a variety of nonperishable food items. Patrons are eligible to receive 1 bag per household every 6 months. Homeless clients are eligible for 1 transient bag every 7 days. Transient bags include a variety of ready-to-eat food items as well as health and hygiene items.
- The main THCH Food Pantry is open for those in need, Monday through Friday, 10AM to 12PM at the Ministry Village at Olive office (1716 E. Olive Road, behind Olive Baptist Church).
- The THCH Food Pantry at Warrington is open on Mondays from 11AM to 1PM at Olive’s Warrington Campus (103 W. Winthrop Avenue).
- Tender Hearts Caring Hands accepts donations Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 2PM at the Ministry Village at Olive office (1716 E. Olive Road). Donations of nonperishable food items and travel-size hygiene items are accepted. Financial donations are appreciated and go toward purchasing the items THCH distributes each day. Supporters can also make purchases through Amazon and items can be shipped directly to the Ministry Village at Olive office.
- For more information on the Tender Hearts Caring Hands ministry, contact Kathleen Schuster at (850) 475-1118 or by email atKSchuster@ministryvillage.org.
- To donate financially to Tender Hearts Caring Hands or any Ministry Village program, click here.