Tag Archives: Feeding the community

Helping Hands During Covid 19

6 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Daily I am amazed and thankful for the acts of kindness and compassion being carried out to feed the people in our state. Florida thrives on the tourism industry and has been tragically hard hit with furloughed jobs. Unemployment compensation has not even begun for many.

So much of the media news is negative and fear producing. I decided to share the positive and good that is happening around me. This is a very small snapshot.

The Grove church started their Covid-19 food ministry giving out 400 BBQ chicken meals, they increased the number each week and then local restaurants began donating the food. A few years ago the church was meeting at the YMCA and looking for an existing building to renovate for a permanent home. They chose an old, almost derelict vacant grocery store. It took two years for them to restore and convert it. God’s hand was in this plan! Because the building was previously a free standing grocery store it has an enormous parking lot, making them a perfect staging area for giving out food.

Our State Representative used one month of his legislative salary to fund a food distribution in his district. He partnered with FarmShare and he ran out of food in two hours. He has since partnered with FarmShare for a larger distribution and another is planned for May 7, 2020.

About FarmShare: With your help Farm Share can bring a semi-truck containing 42,000 pounds of fresh food to identified communities in need and distribute it to over 1,000 hungry families.

If you would like to know more about FarmShare click HERE

A call went out to the community that our homeless were in need and Representative Randy Fine responded as did others in the community.

First Baptist in Orlando is hoping to collect enough food to provide a week of meals to 500 families.

Our local YMCA is helping out too!

My favorite organization in our community is Hummingbird Pantry. I learned of it from people who come to our church food pantry. It is run by volunteers and gives out thousands of tons of food. We have been a couple of times since Covid began. You don’t choose your food. They load one of whatever (Or more if you have a large household) is available into you car. The first week I went to learn about it and curious to see if our church food pantry could receive some of the fresh veggie items. After a two hour wait, we received among other things, a case of fresh corn. We were able to share it with five other families. We’ve gone a couple of other times to get food to distribute to others, especially this who can’t get there.

This week they uploaded a video to You Tube showing the huge amount of cars in line and explaining their mission. The need is so great their resources are stretched thin and they are hoping for donations. Somehow they almost always have flowers. Feeding the spirit as well as the body.

I would love to read about your community or your volunteer work during this virus. If you have blogged about it, leave the link in comments! Together, we are winning.

All pictures are screen shots from Facebook.

I'm a winnerAfter my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  where we frequently host the best in up and coming authors.

My 2019 goal is to use my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Just Twelve Items

2 Mar

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Just twelve items per family. That is all our church food pantry is able to give to families in need and it breaks my heart. And yet, the women and men who come are so darn appreciative of just twelve items. One woman was thrilled to get a dozen eggs. She was wanting to make her family a caramel cake. I asked if she had a recipe for it and she pointed to her head. “It’s all up there, if i can remember it, I haven’t made it in so long.” Eggs are a new addition since I worked in the food pantry last winter and they seem to be a big success.  The face of a child lit up, when he saw the eggs. “We get real eggs!”

My job this week was to greet people, assist them in choosing their items by answering questions, then bagging the groceries up and offering help to their car. I was fascinated watching them make their choices. Some knew exactly what they needed, while others browsed. I enjoyed the woman who was planning meals as she put items on the table. She exceeded the limit on soup, but there was no way I could bring myself to disrupt her plans. Imagine planning your meals for the week around just twelve items.

One of our regular ladies brought someone new. As she was showing her around, she placed an arm on her friend’s shoulder and said, “this is not food from the government, this is food from the people.”  We are a small church and went three years without a permanent pastor and many members left. Last December our food pantry ran out of money and our shelves were bare. We are working hard to connect with business in the community to help us serve our neighbors. Another option is asking friends to consider setting up a food donation box in their workplace. It may not seem like much, but just twelve items make a difference in someone’s life.

I don’t take pictures at the food pantry so I decided to share one of DiVoran’s lovely paintings.

mockingbird

Helping Hands

25 Feb

On  the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

When I was a child I had my heart set on being a missionary. As I pretended to sweep the floor in my makeshift outdoor playhouse, my mind pictured me sweeping out a tent somewhere in Africa. I was sweeping the floor for Jesus.Then I grew up, drew away from the church for a time, and put the dream aside.

A few years ago, my local church opened Compassion House, a food pantry ministry to help feed our small community. I was excited. Working in a soup kitchen or food pantry had been a desire of my heart since I had put aside the missionary dream.  I asked if  I could help and was disappointed when I was told they had all the help they needed. Several years pass, pastors and members moved on and I assumed Compassion House  was still fully staffed. Then, the first of February, a call went out of a need for volunteers to help stock shelves in Compassion House. It was at an inconvenient time but I was determined to make it work and I did.

After the shelves were stocked, I asked about helping on the days they were open, the first and third Tuesday of the month. To my joy, they said I would be welcome! I have worked two times so far and loved every  minute of it.

This is the description of Compassion House from the church website:

Compassion House exists to meet physical needs as well as spiritual needs. Our guests needing assistance will have the opportunity to sit and talk with a trained volunteer who will pray with them.

           

A new visitor to Compassion House is interviewed to determine their food needs and a top notch social worker is on site to assist with social and medical needs.  Based on the interview each person is allotted a specific number of food items. Each time they check in, they are given a slip of paper with their name as well as the number of items they may choose.Then they are sent down the walkway to the room with the food. Our food pantry gives the individuals the opportunity to choose their items, rather than handing them a pre-packed bag  and my job was greet them, usually by name and assist them with choosing items, bagging  and offering help carrying their bags,

This week a young man came in and as he was collecting his items, his movements made me think of someone who might be high. I felt uneasy. Then as he gathered the last of his items, he thanked us and said his children were going to be so happy when they came home from school and had food to eat. That wrecked my heart.

Why am I sharing this? My church is not the only one in our small community who offers a helping hand of food and sometimes clothing to those in need. The top notch social worker spends time each week at several food pantries in town and her salary is paid through a foundation which gets its money from fund raising events. America has good and generous people and I hope to begin a weekly series titled “Helping Hands” to spotlight their efforts.

How about you? Do you know of a church or organization that offers a helping hand in your  community? If you would like to share your story, please comment below and  If you are one of our many international readers I would be delighted to read and  share your stories too.

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