Volunteers needed to get food where it’s needed. One of longest, continuously operating ministries at Living Saviour Lutheran needs more hands and arms and drivers, or we may soon see its last “bread run.”
For about 30 years, men, couples and families have been picking up expired bread and other deli items – from barbecue ribs and wings to ready-to-heat mashed potatoes and gravy – from a local grocery store on the weekends and driving it to the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte at 1210 N. Tryon St. The Men’s Shelter operates the county’s only two year-round, overnight shel-ters for homeless men, and the facility on North Tryon Street served hundreds of meals every week.
The food collected from the Harris Teeter at Quail Corners is made fresh and, following health department guidelines, would be thrown out if members of Living Saviour didn’t retrieve it and take it downtown. Second Harvest Food Bank picks up food from Harris Teeters across the city Monday through Friday – but not on weekends when a normally large volume of food expires. Living Saviour members routinely pick up 250 to 300 pounds of food every weekend (Saturday and Sunday mornings), and through the years, the volunteers have saved tons of wholesome food from going to waste.
The ministry was founded about 30 years ago, and through the years, a number of volunteers have rotated every third or fourth weekend. For the past two decades – that’s regularly for 20 years! — Tony Eller and Terry Goodwin, supported by their wives, Mary Ann and Joyce, have loyally shouldered most of the duties. But Tony is unable to continue as a volunteer, and Terry can’t do it by himself.
So, we are appealing for a new generation of volunteers to step up and keep this wonderful ministry alive. The entire process takes about 1½ hours on each Saturday and Sunday morning. The store opens at 7 a.m., and store employees usually have the expired food for that day waiting in shopping carts. Volunteers can pick up as late as 9 a.m. The food usually fills four to six, medium-size HT garbage bags, and the trip to the shelter takes about 20 minutes. (Traffic is usually light that time of day.)
The Men’s Shelter is just north of I-277 in downtown, and clients and staff at the shelter are grateful to and respectful of volunteers bringing bags of food. Pastor and Brian have delivered food to the shelter a number of weekends, and one church member regularly drives there with his granddaughter.
Not only is this one of Living Saviour’s longest operating, self-started ministries, the Men’s Shelter food run also provides each of us with the chance to serve as good stewards of the bounty God has given us (by saving the food) and to offer the love of Christ through bread and a meal to those who need it most at the time.
We hope you will pray about whether God is calling you to help revive and reinvigorate this ministry of our church and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Training is easy. Volunteers will accompany a veteran on the first ride. Those who are interested should contact Frank DeLoache, Tony Eller or Terry Goodwin.