Nonprofit gives back all year

Published 5:50 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

VALLEY — The Bread Basket Club had its monthly distribution to local seniors Monday morning in the family life center of Langdale Methodist Church. This takes place at 10 a.m. EST on the third Friday of every month. With this month’s session falling during the week of Thanksgiving, everyone at the church was in a very good mood. There were lots of smiles among the seniors and lots of upbeat conversation. Each senior coming out went home with a sack full of bread, ham, eggs, chicken, sweet potatoes and bottled water.

Most of the food is purchased from the East Alabama Food Bank at a reduced rate.

“We purchase it for 18 cents a pound,” said Kathy Richardson, the director. “We purchase bread and eggs from Givorns. We make sure our clients always get a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs. It costs between $1,100 to $1,200 a month for us to do this. Our biggest contributor is the Valley United Fund. We couldn’t do what we do without their support. We would have to reach out for other resources. The support we get from the Valley United Fund makes a big difference.”

Email newsletter signup

The Bread Basket Club is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018.

“It was started by a Project Leadership class,” Richardson said. “David Burette and Gloria Hull, the former director of the Circle of Care, helped get it organized, and David was its first director.”

There are currently 126 clients. A total of 107 of them were there for Monday’s distribution.

“At one time, we had 240 enrolled,” Richardson added, “but we have had to cut back because our funding got tight.”

To be eligible, the individual must be at least 60 years of age, live in Chambers County and have an income that’s at least 125 percent of the federal poverty level. The income level rises if there are more than one person in the household.

Just up 20th Avenue from the church is the Interfaith Food Closet. Supported by local churches and other organizations, the Food Closet provides food to local people on an emergency basis. It’s open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. EST on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The Interfaith Food Closet will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2019. It has the support of 22 local churches and operates on an annual budget of approximately $30,000. Since it’s an entirely volunteer organization, all of the money goes to the purchase of food and overhead.

“We have 35 volunteers,” said Board Chair Donnie Erwin-Brown. “We help people who are experiencing some kind of emergency. They may be unemployed, dealing with a medical emergency, being a senior and having to raise their grandchildren or a senior who is struggling to pay a high utility bill in the winter.”

Those who are eligible are served six times a year.

“We like for our seniors to come every other month,” Erwin-Brown said. “It they start in April, they can come six times before the next April.”

A total of 1,136 households were served last year by the Interfaith Food Closet.

An estimated 13,000 meals are provided each year.

“An important thing about the Interfaith Food Closet is that we don’t do financial assistance forms,” Erwin-Brown said. “There’s no assessment. If you show up and you have an emergency, we will help you. You have to have proof of residency. You need to have a photo ID such as a driver’s license, copy of a utility bill or rental receipt.”

Anyone who wants to make a donation to help may bring it by the food closet in Langdale or mail to: Interfaith Food Closet, P.O. Box 541, Lanett, AL 36863.

“This is a satisfying ministry,” Erwin-Brown said. “Everyone who is working there is committed to being of service to others. We have a 12-member board, each of whom wants to help those in need.”