Below is a feature article about Faith Ministries which was published in the Herald News in 2018:
How blessed we are to live in Rhea County, Tennessee! In addition to the miles of shoreline, the lush green valley and the picturesque mountains, there is beauty in the lives of the people who call this place home. Over the next few weeks, I would like to use this column to tell the stories of individuals whose lives enrich our community. I hope that reading these articles will encourage you to follow the apostle Paul’s instructions to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, praiseworthy and of good report as you contemplate the joy of living in Rhea County.
Faith Ministries might be described as lunch with a human touch. The weekly program of food for the homebound provides nourishment both for those receiving the lunch and those delivering it.
A recent conversation with Jack Brown detailed the history and current operations of this community program. When asked how he got involved, Brown responded, “When I retired in 2003 I began to look for a good way to give back to the community.” He learned of a program that provided meals and weekly visits to homebound individuals. Just the kind of activity that piqued his interest and met his desire for involvement.
Over the last 15 years Faith Ministries has experienced several challenges and changes as it has developed into an established program of food preparation and delivery every week. When in need of a preparation site, the First United Methodist Church opened its kitchen for use. For the last five to seven years, volunteers have met there on Tuesday mornings to prepare and package meals for transport to homes throughout Rhea County.
During my recent visit to their Tuesday morning work session, I found individuals from Concord Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, First Baptist and First United Methodist churches making chicken noodle soup, portioning cake servings and bagging corn chips. The fellowship among the volunteers was as evident as the seriousness of their cooking.
Most weeks, 12-15 individuals donate their time to be a part of the food preparation team. Weekly volunteer Barbara Johnston said she read in the newspaper about the need for volunteers and thought she would like to be involved in the program. Barbara and two others from her church work weekly, not only in the preparing of meals, but also in taking meals to individuals.
Delivery of meals allows volunteers to provide the human touch to mealtime. Brown said Tuesday is the highlight of the week for some meal recipients because it gives them opportunity to see and talk with a caring person. Faith Ministries currently has three delivery routes where volunteers interact with 145 individuals.
The weekly service program is one that brings joy to our community because of the insight of individuals who recognized a need and took action to respond to that need. Gratitude goes to those who faithfully work in food preparation and delivery of meals. Additionally, gratitude goes to those who faithfully support this ministry through their financial donations. Brown explained that “generous people in our community support us. Also, Yellow Creek Baptist Church and Saint Bridget Catholic Church include us in their church budgets.”
Microwave meals may fill the stomach, but they can never fill the soul the way a meal from Faith Ministries does.