Back More than 1,000 people give during one-day food drive for GraceWorks Ministries
August 26th, 2013
By Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
Even though the economy is slowing crawling out of a pit, the needs of people haven't gone away. In Williamson County, one of the wealthiest counties in the United states, you'd think poverty would be nearly non-existent. But it's not.
Children skip meals because there isn't enough food to eat. Dads lose their jobs and wonder how they're going to get through it. Single moms can't pay the mortgage or light bills. Grandmothers take on multiple children in retirement and have to figure out how to provide.
The struggles are real. The needs are huge. And they don't go away.
That's why we partner with GraceWorks Ministries each year in a one-day annual Food Drive. GraceWorks is a local ministry that helps provide Williamson County residents in need with the basic necessities of life. Year after year, our members have gone above and beyond, breaking records and stocking their shelves for several months.
On Sunday, August 25, we did it again. More than 1,075 people in 657 cars brought in 25,823 pounds of supplies from 1:00-6:00 p.m., filling eight trucks.
Vicki Howell, Community Missions Minister, said, "We're called to reach out and serve those in our own backyard. This was a great opportunity to show the love of Christ by helping to provide the staples that so many take for granted."
Ahead of the on-stage all-call during Sunday's services, Brentwood and Franklin stores—like Kroger, Publix, Harris Teeter, Costco, Sam's Club, and Walmart—were notified the masses would be coming. Some of them even set up early to welcome members, making the shopping quick and easy.
According to Vicki, some local grocery stores even offered to donate to the cause. She said, "Harris Teeter said if there was an item lacking in volume from the list when the Food Drive was over, they'd love to step in and provide more of that item. And it was the same at Sam's Club, who also offered a monetary gift toward the effort."
Throughout the afternoon, a steady stream of people flowed through the parking lot, met by Brentwood Baptist deacons and other volunteers. They dropped off bags including things like boxed meals, canned meats and veggies, cereal, snack foods, juice, toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap, toothpaste, diapers, and more.
Vicki said, "It was fun to see cars lined up at the red light on Concord, ready to round the corner to show us what they'd found and tell us who they ran into while shopping at the grocery store."
Even though less pounds were brought in this year, the items requested were lighter than before because many of them will be used for Fuel Bags.
Some children on free and reduced school lunch programs don't have enough food to eat on the weekends or during holidays when they're at home. Through this program, GraceWorks discreetly gives them small bags filled with nutritious, easily prepared food items so they can eat. Last year alone, they gave out more than 14,750 to students.
This ministry has gained a reputation in Williamson County, and Vicki hopes our members are known for the same kindness.
One Costco cashier, who met one of our members while shopping for the Food Drive, said she'd been in a car accident the previous year and GraceWorks stepped in to help. The ministry called her each week for several weeks to check on her and provide for her needs.
"The Food Drive is an open door to our Oikos—where we live, work, play, and shop," she said, "After this past Sunday, my prayer is that our church family will embrace the cashiers, managers, and employees in the stores where they shopped, praying for them and reaching out to invest in someone they met in the process."
At Vicki's suggestion, the first step might to be return to the store where you shopped, say "thank you," and update them on how the Food Drive turned out.
"God can open doors through this event that are far beyond the walls of GraceWorks or Brentwood Baptist," she said. "I look forward to hearing how that continues to happen in the days ahead."