Community Impact: Food for the Soul
For two decades, Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry has provided meals, shelter and more to the needy in Lawrenceville and Dacula. The ministry opens Wednesday and Friday for food for and emergency financial assistance those in financial straits, and on Saturday morning and Monday nights for food.
According to Executive Director Linda Freund, in the first quarter of 2016 the co-op served an average of 458 different households per month: 811 adults, 710 children and 81 seniors. She said it takes approximately 20,000 cans of food to feed these families for one week.
Assistance ranges from food and emergency shelter to paying for prescription medicine or water bills. Housing the homeless is one of the organizations major missions—and one that the Jackson EMC Foundation has consistently supported since its beginning in 2005.
“We can buy enough food to get everybody fed, but there’s not enough housing for the homeless,” says Freund. “Our ministry provides families with emergency housing for one week in a motel.”
Lines form early at Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry, where clients come for a variety of needs. What they may lack in resources, they make up for in faith, according to the ministry director.
“All I have to do is open the door to see the people and their faith,” says Freund. “This is a place where people receive a personal touch; it’s not all about the food. We ask about their family and pray with them. We give both literal food for their bodies and spiritual food for their souls.”
The gifts, both physical and spiritual, are necessary to keep families afloat, according to Freund.
“When the Great Recession hit in 2008 and 2009, people were desperate, and many still are,” she says. “When you can’t pay your bills, it’s a crisis. Everybody has a different crisis, a need they can’t meet at the moment.”
Grants from the Jackson EMC Foundation have helped the ministry reach many.
“Everyone who gives when they pay their power bill contributes, and it’s amazing when you consider how many people have touched our ministry in this way,” says Freund.
Since awarding the first $15,000 grant for the emergency food assistance program in November 2005, the Jackson EMC Foundation has awarded $145,000 in assistance to the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry.
For more information, see lawrencevilleco-op.org.