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Mobile food pantry visits Divine Faith Church

Posted: October 19, 2010 4:14 p.m.
Updated: October 20, 2010 5:00 a.m.
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Divine Faith Bishop Isaac Miller stands in front of the Harvest Hope mobile food pantry truck.

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Bishop Isaac Miller of the Divine Faith Church has spent 27 years dedicated to looking after the well-being of people in Bethune. While the small church he founded in 1983 serves as a source of spiritual comfort for a congregation of approximately 50 members, the church also provides a monthly outreach to the community by serving the gift of food to up to 85 families by serving as a Mobile Food Pantry (MFP) site for Harvest Hope Food Bank.

“Harvest Hope has brought a lot of love to our community,” said Bishop Miller regarding the deliveries. “Everyday word of what we are doing here grows by leaps and bounds and it means a lot to the community and is an inspiration to them.”

For 13 months Miller and church Evangelist Stacey Williams have coordinated with Columbia-based Harvest Hope to make sure quality food is available to Bethune families in need. Once a month the Harvest Hope MFP truck pulls up in front of the church at 390 West Inwood Street to deliver food items to the community. The latest delivery was on Oct. 12 and church and community volunteers assisted in unloading 2,443 pounds of food that was sorted and then distributed to community residents who arrived throughout the afternoon. Food items included pasta, canned goods, bread, cheese and soft drinks.

“Harvest Hope is grateful to Bishop Isaac Miller, Evangelist Stacey Williams and everyone at Divine Faith Church for working with us to meet the incredible hunger need in Bethune,” said Harvest Hope faith initiative manager Jay Parler. “For over a year they have provided a base of operations for our Mobile Food Pantries in the area, and helped to make sure families in their community have someone with compassion to turn to in their time of need.”

When Bishop Miller first learned about Harvest Hope’s MFP deliveries, he put Evangelist Miller in charge of the church’s feeding program and charged her with contacting the food bank and coordinating deliveries. The Harvest Hope MFP truck rolled up with its first delivery in August of 2009. The church used flyers posted in local stores and word of mouth to spread the word about the monthly gift of food, and ultimately 83 families registered to come by and pick up the donation boxes each month.

Congregation member Yvette Caldwell assists Williams each month with registration duties, and other congregation volunteers including Elder Mamie Miller are on hand to offload the truck and hand out food items throughout the day. In addition to Divine Faith congregation members, many of the volunteers who assist each month are community residents who first arrived to accept food but saw the need and offered to lend their hands in service on delivery days.

“Many of our volunteers are people who were so thankful for the blessing of food they wanted the chance to give back, and they asked what they could do to help,” said Miller. “Even though many are not part of our church, they stepped up and became a part of our family by their service.”

Miller went on to say that he has seen a change in the community in the year that Harvest Hope has brought the MFP deliveries to the church, and credits the deliveries with making a positive impact in the area. He stated that feeding hungry residents is a necessary extension of preaching, and that his church’s efforts “are a way of bringing the Bible to life in the community.”

For more information about Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantries, contact Jay Parler or Wendy Durant at 245-4432 or visit their website at www.harvesthope.org. For more information about Divine Faith Church, call 334-6594 or visit their website at http://divinefaithchurch.web.officelive.com/default.aspx.

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