Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen recently received a $10,000 grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, a ministry of the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, which will be used to support the ongoing efforts of feeding needy families in the community, according to the non profit's Ways and Means Committee...
Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen recently received a $10,000 grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, a ministry of the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, which will be used to support the ongoing efforts of feeding needy families in the community, according to the non profit's Ways and Means Committee.
"The Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen's Ways and Means Committee is indeed grateful for the funds provided by this grant from the United Methodist Church's Golden Cross Foundation," said the Rev. Paul Mullikin, SCSK Board of Governors president. "This, along with the generous contributions from all of our soup kitchen donors, will help us as we work to achieve our 2021 budget projections of over $50,000. We are indeed filled with gratitude for a community that continues to step up and help meet the physical and financial demands of this important mission."
Prior to this year's pandemic, the soup kitchen group held its Tuesday evening meal service in the basement of Shelbyville FUMC, where Mullikin serves as senior pastor. Due to social distancing issues and closing of the church by the UMC bishop, volunteers had to rethink their mode of serving needy families here.
A generous benefactor had donated the old Save-A-Lot grocery store near the Veterans Bridge on the Duck River a couple of years ago. So, the mission was moved in the spring to that location and boxed meals have since been distributed since May from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays to vehicles.
"Because of the closure, we were unable to serve meals in March and April," said Mullikin. "But with the help of a local food truck vendor and his staff, we resumed feeding our guests in a drive-by and walk-up setting in May."
Around 175 boxed meals are currently being prepared for pick up each Tuesday. Volunteers said recently they expect the numbers of families to rise, due to economic and work force conditions associated with the pandemic.
New year, more costs
As well, as a result of the coronavirus, food costs in 2020 continued to increase. Soup kitchen volunteers advised the UMC during its grant process that it expects cost per meal to continue to rise as well in 2021.
"We have a continual need for funds to feed the homeless and marginalized," said Mullikin. "A substantial portion of our guests are older adults who live on limited incomes and oftentimes shoulder the responsibility of raising their grandchildren."
Pre-COVID, the soup kitchen operated solely on contributions and an annual fundraising event. However, like many other programs and ministries, their 2020 annual fundraiser was postponed due to the pandemic. The Golden Cross Foundation's grant money couldn't have come at a better time, Mullikin said.
"While SCSK is helping to meet our guests' nutritional goals, we are handicapped in realizing one of our most important goals; that of hands-on ministering to spiritual and emotional needs," said Mullikin. "Our goal is to resume and increase our multi-faceted program of nutritional, spiritual, and emotional support when we can again do so safely."
Future plans, post-pandemic, include expanding the soup kitchen's services once volunteers are able to move back into a brick-and-mortar building. "We would love to become a center of hope and refuge for God's hungry, tired, and weary," said Mullikin. "We hope to expand our nutritional services to more days per week, to once again offer both spiritual and emotional support, and perhaps eventually offer job skills assistance and a children's summer feeding program.
The church pastor said the soup kitchen was started literally on a wing and a prayer.
"Many, many prayers continue to be offered for this mission, and the wings are God's hand that lifts us when our paths forward become difficult."
Shelbyville Community Soup Kitchen was started in February 2016, by Bedford County Ministerial Association on a 6-week trial basis. A known homeless population was believed to live along the Duck River.
Since Shelbyville FUMC was the closest church to the homeless camp, the church became the host site for a weekly Tuesday evening meal. Starting with 12 guests on a cold, rainy night, attendance grew steadily to an average of 175 guests each week.
About the Golden Cross Foundation
Golden Cross Foundation is a ministry of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. Funding comes from caring individuals, families and friends of the church each year.
The foundation provides funding assistance for new and ongoing ministries and services with older adults in the Tennessee Conference and provides expertise and strategic planning to the conference for the expansion of innovative and effective ministries with older adults.
For more information visit www.goldencrossfoundation.org or contact Kent McNish, executive director of The Golden Cross Foundation, at email@example.com or by calling 615-479-6175.
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