What does it mean to a family when the electric bill doubled, and there is no extra money for food? That is where the heart of Feeding America comes to life in the lives of people of Craig County.
Initially, Feeding America approached the Craig County Child Care Center looking for a place to set up to hand out food. Due to the concern of so many small children in the parking lots during the delivery hours, Teresa Oliver, Director of the Center, asked them to contact Jean Bradley.
Bradley had been directing the ‘Loaves and Fishes’ ministry for a while, delivering meals to people’s homes once a week and Oliver felt she would be a great contact. She certainly turned out to be.
For over three years now, Feeding America has teamed up with The New Castle Christian Church, under the leadership of Jean Bradley to hand out boxes of food every month.
“We have continued this ministry because it helps people in the county and Feeding America is still willing to do the distribution,” Bradley shared. “Announcing it in the churches, posting it on Facebook monthly and – of course – word of mouth helps to spread the news.”
The monthly delivery is handled by volunteers only. It takes many people to lift boxes, separate the food when the Feeding America truck arrives and then place it in the vehicles once the consumers drive in. “We can always use more volunteers,” Bradley said. “Not everyone can be there every month, so it helps to have a lot of people help out.”
“Our wonderful volunteers are mostly the same ones that started with us,” Bradley said. “We have also gotten some new volunteers from people who used the program and wanted to help.”
The delivery is on the second Wednesday of each month at the New Castle Christian Church. People can turn at Cornerstone Church off of Route 311, then onto Wagner Street and take the first right onto Woodman Avenue. This is the route which goes into the church parking lot where they will take your name, and the volunteers will even place the box in their cars. The line starts forming around 3:30 p.m. and pick up times are from 4 to 5 p.m.
Bradley shared that though they do not need any donations, except for boxes to put the food in, she quickly suggested that if people wish to send food or make monetary donations to Feeding America, they can do such. Families seem a bit short in the winter months because they do not have a garden to get their vegetables from.
The total number of families which are assisted with a box of food each month varies, but the average is about 265. “Hearing from the people in Craig and how much it has helped them to stretch their money a little further each month means a lot to us, and that is why it is important to us to keep this ministry going,” Bradly shared.