Meeting Needs in Uncertain Times
Uncertain times. That’s the world we are living in right now. We’ve all had to adjust in some way – changing from our “normal” to something new. The programs of Ministry Village at Olive are no different. This week, we’ll take a look at how we have adjusted our Tender Hearts Caring Hands ministry, Most Excellent Way, and the Ministry Village Bargain Center to continue serving our community and meeting the growing needs of those around us.
Family & Homeless Support – Tender Hearts Caring Hands
The Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry changed to a drive-thru format to minimize contact and better protect clients and staff. The normal food pantry criteria is still in effect. People are eligible for one 3-day family food bag every 6 months, and must show proper photo identification and proof of Social Security Number. Our Tender Hearts Caring Hands Director, Kathleen Schuster, and her team setup a tent each morning in the large parking lot behind the Ministry Village office. They load pre-packed food bags from the pantry storage onto carts and arrange items under the tent. As the drive-thru hours draw near, they direct the arriving cars into a receiving line. “We are distributing about 3 times the number of family food bags that we normally give out,” says Kathie. “The drive-thru system has been working well, and we are able to distribute food at a quicker pace than we would under the normal walk-in system, which is important since the demand is so much greater.”
With the greater demand for food comes a need for more supply of pantry foods, and Ministry Village is one of the few food pantries still operating under the current conditions. “It has been a challenge to keep items stocked. Fortunately, we had a tremendous donation drive just before Easter, led by Olive Baptist Church. That really helped restock our shelves, and seeing the support from our community really encouraged our team.” Olive Baptist Church members aren’t the only people donating to the food pantry. “We’ve had donations from other community and nonprofit organizations who are looking for ways to help. We’ve also had several individuals from throughout our community who know the work we are doing and want to contribute.”
In addition to the family food bag program, Tender Hearts Caring Hands provides a lifeline to a large number of homeless men and women in the area who depend greatly on the hygiene bags and food THCH provides. “We are continuing to support our homeless clients by providing hygiene items and a daily meal – like a warm crockpot meal or pasta salad. They are so appreciative, and it’s an important way to show the love of Jesus to our community.”
💙 The Tender Hearts Caring Hands Food Pantry accepts donations Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 2PM at the Ministry Village at Olive office (1716 E. Olive Road, behind Olive Baptist Church). Donations of nonperishable food items and travel-size hygiene items are accepted. Financial donations are also appreciated and go toward purchasing the items THCH distributes each day.
💙 The most up-to-date drive-thru hours are posted on the Ministry Village at Olive Facebook page. The Food Pantry drive thru is weather permitting. Hours vary by day and are subject to change. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work diligently to meet everyone’s needs while following CDC safety guidelines.
Addiction Recovery Support – Most Excellent Way
Most Excellent Way is our faith-based support group for those struggling with addiction. The Bible provides solutions for those struggling with behavioral and substance addictions, and the Most Excellent Way group meetings serve to encourage and support anyone who is in the midst of the ongoing fight to be restored. At Most Excellent Way, leaders teach that through Christ, you can find freedom from your addiction.
MEW meetings are typically scheduled for Tuesday and Friday nights at the Olive Baptist Church Main Campus as well as Wednesday nights at the Warrington Campus. Unfortunately, MEW meetings have been forced to close because of the COVID-19 shutdown. “When the stay-at-home order came down, we were unable to continue meeting in the church to follow the safety guidelines,” said Scott Heald, Director of Most Excellent Way / Jail Ministries. Those who need support can call Scott to talk by phone. MEW leaders have also given their personal contact information to regular meeting attendees so they can stay in touch and encourage each other until they can meet again in person.
💜 If you need support, contact Scott Heald at (850) 475-1112.
Financial & Household Support – Ministry Village Bargain Center
While the Ministry Village Bargain Center continued to operate during March doing things to practice social distancing (limiting the number of shoppers in the store at one time, sanitizing handles, registers, and other high traffic touchpoints throughout the building, etc.), it was evident that the store would need to close during the month of April. “It was becoming increasingly difficult to provide excellent service to our customers while meeting all the guidelines we felt were important to keep our volunteers, employees and customers safe,” said Julie Paden, Manager of the Ministry Village Bargain Center. “We decided to close for the month of April and we’ll make a decision on reopening based on the state and local guidelines as we get closer to May.”
In the meantime, people all over the area are using their time at home to organize and clean out their homes, closets, garages and storage units, and they are ready to donate those items. “Before the shutdown, we had planned a Clean Out Your Closet event for April 19, and we were receiving so many requests about dropping off donations that we decided to hold some weekly dropoff days throughout April.” The #ThriftyThursday Bargain Center Donation Days have been a big hit with people all over the community, filling up the Bargain Center’s truck each week with items that will be sold to raise funds for the programs of Ministry Village. “Everybody has been really excited to bring their items to the truck each week. We will have a ton of fantastic items to sell once the Bargain Center reopens.”
The Ministry Village Bargain Center is an important program of Ministry Village at Olive. Not only does it provide an important service to community members through its gift certificates and outreach programs for those who are struggling to purchase necessary household and clothing items, it also provides an important financial function for MVO by raising money through the sale of donated items in order to fund the other ministry programs. “Losing out on a month of revenue certainly impacts the MVO bottom line, but the volume and quality of donations that we have been given from the community during this time are going to really help us in our recovery once the store reopens.”
💚 The last donation dropoff for April is scheduled for Thursday, April 30. The Ministry Village Bargain Center truck will be parked in the large parking lot behind Olive Baptist Church and the Ministry Village at Olive office – 1716 E. Olive Road. The truck will be there from 9AM to 12Noon. Get there early before the truck runs out of storage space!
💚 The Ministry Village Bargain Center is located at 92 E. Nine Mile Road, just west of the railroad tracks and east of Arby’s and Harbor Freight. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to find out the latest news on donation drop-offs and store reopening.
A Mission of Service
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) If you are looking for a place to demonstrate kindness to others for the glory of God, give us a call. We have opportunities through the Bargain Center; our Tender Hearts Caring Hands benevolence program and food pantry; through the Most Excellent Way addiction support groups; at the Charis House; and at the Ministry Village Early Learning Center.
Next week, we’ll see how the Ministry Village Early Learning Center and the Charis House have adapted to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
❤️ Visit our volunteer page to signup, or call our office at (850) 473-4466 for more information.
❤️ Follow Ministry Village at Olive on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on our services and programs.