Working Together to REAP Benefits for our Community
‘I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’- Matthew 25
Those are the words that are instrumental in the mission of Ministry Village at Olive. We strive not only to keep our eyes open for those in need throughout our community, but to also seek them out. To find ways to offer a hand of support, a prayer of kindness and a glimpse of the hope Jesus can provide EVERYONE, no matter the situation or the choices a person has made. One partner we have in this mission is REAP.
REAP (ReEntry Alliance Pensacola) is a local nonprofit organization founded in 2015 whose mission is “to improve the safety and quality of life in Northwest Florida by enabling individuals returning from incarceration to be self-sufficient, crime-free, productive citizens and neighbors.” To accomplish their mission, REAP assists individuals coming out of prison to reestablish their lives by providing referrals to very specific services such as housing, healthcare, education, and job training.
A few years ago, Ministry Village’s Scott Heald, (Administrator of Most Excellent Way, and the Jail/Homeless ministries) formed a partnership with REAP to assist them in serving their clients. Since then, Ministry Village and the Ministry Village Bargain Center have worked with REAP to provide clients coming out of prison with 2 to 4 complete outfits – shirt, pants, underwear, socks and shoes. “When people come out of prison, they usually only have the clothes on their backs,” explains Julie Paden, Manager of the Ministry Village Bargain Center. “Imagine trying to turn your life around – trying to find a place to live, finish your education, interview for a job – while not only having to explain your criminal history, but also wearing the same set of clothes day after day. Helping them is one small way we can show Jesus’s love.”
The Ministry Village Bargain Center donates approximately $150 in clothing each month to REAP clients. In addition, the Bargain Center provides small gift certificates to the clients for them to spend in the store on items like household appliances or gifts for their children.
“We believe it’s important to partner with organizations like REAP to reach members of our society who need to feel the love of Jesus,” says Julie. “Helping them find clothing is something that makes it easier for them to get back into the workforce, which leads to them improving their lives. It’s so important for those coming out of prison to know that they are loved, and that Jesus loves them so much that He died for them. At Ministry Village, we work to show Jesus’s love through our actions, and giving away clothing is one small way we can demonstrate Jesus’s love. We also try to give our clients Bibles when they come through the store. We believe in treating them as the people Jesus created and loves, not just as the mistakes they have made.”
💰To support these Ministry Village partnerships as well as our other Ministry Village programs, you can donate on our website (ministryvillage.org/donate).
📦Donations of items are accepted at the Bargain Center Monday through Saturday, 9AM to 4PM. Proceeds from items sold at the Bargain Center fund the programs of Ministry Village at Olive.