The story of Joseph’s Storehouse in Lebanon may remind some of the Bible story of the loaves and fishes.
“We started out with only 22 boxes of food, and they weren’t big boxes, either,” said Bob Evans, director of the ministry.
Now, the storehouse distributes more than 1 million pounds of food per year to families in need in Wilson County. In 2012, Joseph’s Storehouse fed 5,400 families in Wilson County.
The average income for these families was $720 per month, with some trying to live on as little as $300 per month.
Volunteers show up each month to pack wheelbarrows full of food and distribute it to hungry families.
“We have God’s love within us and have the ability to help others who are hurting,” Evans told a group of volunteers before a recent food giveaway. “When we do, His love is perfected. Letting God love through us – isn’t that awesome?”
Some of the volunteers learn about that “awesome love” at an early age, too.
Alexander Smith, 10, said his mom heard about the storehouse on television, so now he and his brother Benjamin, 13, come twice a month to help.
The boys, who are home-schooled, help with whatever is needed.
“Usually, I’m on the conveyor, but the last three or four times I’ve been pushing a wheelbarrow,” said Smith. “But I’ve been all over the place, even in the freezer.”
During a giveaway, part of the food is packed into boxes, sent down a conveyor line, and set into wheelbarrows, which volunteers push to several stations around the building, adding food as they go. At the last three stations, fresh produce and frozen foods are placed in the barrows.
Finally, the food is unloaded into the cars and trucks of families waiting in line. It’s a very efficient process.
Some people have time to volunteer, and others may not have as much time.
But they may have another much needed resource – cash. And now, Joseph’s Storehouse needs a little monetary help to keep sharing the blessings.
Currently, Evans has more food coming in than the ministry can store.
“We are renting a warehouse across town,” he said.
But Evans has a plan. With the help of a number of volunteers and contributed cash, the ministry laid down an 80- by 120-foot concrete floor behind the distribution building on Tater Peeler Road.
If a new storage building can be finished on the new concrete floor, it will provide 9,600 square feet of additional food storage.
Then the money that the ministry is currently spending to rent the warehouse across town can be used to feed hungry families.
“We need either 180 people who can donate $500 each or 90 who can give $1,000 each,” Evans said. He adds that one donor has already pledged $10,000 if Joseph’s Storehouse can match the amount.
“We’ve already raised about $5,000 toward the match,” he says. “I know there are many more good Christian people out there who will help.”
If you are one of those people who can afford to help, contact Evans at 615-453-5777 weekday mornings on Mondays through Thursdays.