Harvesters now helping area families with food

The Fleming Baptist Church is now an agency of Harvesters Community Food Network and will offer food distributions the first and third Wednesday of each month. There is no charge, no applications required.
“Folks just need to show up. We don’t take orders over the phone,” said Pastor Fred Kelley of the Fleming Baptist Church. “We ask folks to bring their own sacks, boxes or containers for produce and bakery items. We pre-box food according to the number in the families.”
The church is a new Harvesters agency and had its first distribution Wednesday, Oct. 22. Kelley said 12 families were served and hopes to get the word out to others.
After responding to a letter from Harvesters seeking to establish agencies in the county, a Harvesters’ representative came to the church and spoke about the program. An application was filled out and approved and training provided.
“Harvesters suggested that we begin by zip codes. We chose Orrick, Camden, Richmond and Fleming to begin with. We hope as we grow we can include Henrietta and Rayville in the future.” Kelley said.
Harvesters has to buy some of the foods they distribute, Kelley said. They purchase it at wholesale and sell it to the agency at 16 cents a pound.
“We are like Harvesters, we couldn’t do all we’re doing without the public. Food and financial contributions enable us to purchase and provide more food. At the present time, we need to garner up some donors that can help us.”
“Our church is allocated to buy $200 of food a month from Harvesters to distribute. They suggest we serve at least 25 families a month,” Kelley said.
Those wishing to participate in the program are asked to sign in when they arrive. “It’s a record that goes to Harvesters,” said Kelley. It provides them with numbers of adults and children, etc., so they know how much food is needed from month to month at each agency. Participants are required to bring proof of residence too.
Distribution dates are always the same – the first and third Wednesday of the month, but the times vary so that more people may be served. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first Wednesday and from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday. Food is boxed according to family size, from one to three in family, from four to six and so forth.
“Every year we have people in need of propane or other things. There are so many that we can’t help, so we were looking for an avenue of ministry where we could help and help more people,” said Kelley.
“The most important thing is to get the word out that there is food available for people without any strings attached,” Kelley said. “Prices are up and jobs out the door. The first area people cut cost on is food. They need shelter and utilities. If you cut your food too much, you won’t need utilities.”
Any leftover food will be divided into thirds and taken to community rooms at senior housing in Richmond and Orrick.
Those wishing to donate food or money (individuals or organizations) may contact Janice Haynes who is in charge of Fleming Baptist Church Harvesters Distribution. “Every food item and all money sent to the church treasurer, or in any way designated for Harvesters, is in a separate account and will be used strictly for the Harvester’s food ministry,” Kelly stated.
“We’re all excited about it,” said Pastor Kelley. “It’s a ministry our Lord is pleased with as we are trying to provide food to the community.”
The next distribution will be Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fleming Baptist Church, located at 36956 Church Street in Orrick. For more information, or directions, call Pastor Kelley at 816-776-7625 or Janice Haynes at 816-776-7261.

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