Shady Grove Baptist food ministry helps many in Gaston Co.
Mary Beth Buchanan and Shady Grove Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. Dale Hendricks, prepare a senior citizen’s food box at the Community Ministries Northwest building. (photo by MEP/The Eagle) Show less
by MICHAEL E. POWELL Editor [email protected] When it comes to following Christ’s example of feeding His sheep, the pastor and congregation of Shady Grove Baptist Church are delivering on both fronts in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spiritually, they’re delivering His word and the gospel message, like many area churches are today, with their unique drive-in sermons and Facebook outreach. But, and this is just as important, because it’s where the “rubber hits the road” so to speak, when it comes to putting wheels on your faith, they are literally delivering, or making sure somehow, that those who are hungry and in need of food, whether young or old, get that food in a most timely manner. The Rev. Dale Hendricks and food services volunteer Mary Beth Buchanan both oversee Shady Grove Baptist Church’s Community Ministry Northwest, located at 2535 Tryon Courthouse Rd., in Bessemer City. Ms. Buchanan is the de-facto director of the all-volunteer operation. “This is a food assistance ministry outreach and is funded and sponsored by Shady Grove Baptist Church,” noted Rev. Hendricks. “It has been in operation for about five years.” In order to receive food, Buchanan and Rev. Hendricks said to first call the ministry at (704) 729-6698 and speak with someone, telling them your need or needs. After hours calls are requested to leave a voice mail for an appointment. The hours of the ministry are Tuesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m., and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m., to 1 p.m. “Please come to the door of the ministry, after coming up onto the wooden covered deck, and someone will come out to assist you, but with all the COVID-19 issues, it is absolutely best to call before you come by,” said Rev. Hendricks. Ms. Buchanan noted she has been with the ministry since this February as a volunteer, having worked for 25 years in the medical profession, adding she is still working with the Gaston County Schools’ School Nutrition at North Gaston High School. Hendricks said the small ministry housed in the building that was formerly Creekside Ministries until 2015, when Shady Grove took over the building. Community Ministries Northwest partners with Second Harvest Food Bank, in Charlotte, getting a large portion of their food donations from them, as well as from other donations and groups who give from a great heart to help others less fortunate than themselves. They also partner with the N.C. hunger fund, with the N.C. Baptist State Convention, as well as partnering with the scout troop, or Pack 76, out of Bethpage Lutheran Church, under the leadership of Mr. Nick Sellers. In addition to Ms. Buchanan, there are 10 volunteers, as well as drivers who she said go once a month to Second Harvest to pick up the food. Rev. Hendricks noted Second Harvest holds a dry-goods can drive year-round. “There’s a distribution center also in Dallas (N.C.) and we go once a week there as well,” she said. The group has a senior citizens food ministry called the Senior Food Boxes program, for senior citizens, age 60 and up, for Gaston County seniors. Additionally, Rev. Hendricks noted the church and the CMNW partner as well with the “Grab and Go” lunch program at Tryon Elementary. “Our volunteers are delivering the lunches to children in homes with no transportation in the community,” he said. Rev. Hendricks said the reason for this ministry is simple. “We saw a gap in the service area, a pocket, if you will, of folks not being served properly. This was in a five-mile radius.” Buchanan took up the thought, adding, “I just felt bad for those senior citizens, as well as the kids, so we serve about 25 to 32 families, or about 120 to 125 individuals, as well as 25 senior citizens, who come by and pick up their senior boxes.” The ministry can be described as a Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP, which is basically, noted Buchanan, “a Federal program administered by the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food Distribution Division for NC residents.” According to a small poster she indicated, the food items are provided by USDA, and the program provides a monthly package of food designed to supplement the nutritional needs of low-income senior citizens. Said Rev. Hendricks regarding if this is enough, even for a not-for-profit scenario, “The Lord makes it enough. We run on a bit of a shoe-string budget but it works!” That said, the ministry does accept, in addition to actual foodstuff donations, monetary donations as well. So, if someone wishes to donate money to this ministry, they can do so by sending a check to Shady Grove Baptist Church, 3240 Tryon Courthouse Rd., Cherryville, 28021, and be sure and designate it for Community Ministries Northwest. Buchanan said their current wish list, for those who wish to donate food stuffs, is as follows: spaghetti sauce, instant potatoes, saltine crackers, jelly, boxed Mac & Cheese, pork and beans, chili beans, kidney beans, and Jiffy (cornbread) mix. For more information on Second Harvest, visit secondharvestmetrolina.org.