Faith & Family: Volunteers serve needy, not greedyPublished 12:10am Saturday, August 31, 2013
FERRIDAY — The Delta Store Front Mission in Ferriday provides food, clothing and a bit of prayer to the poor and homeless in the Miss-Lou area, but volunteers say they also try to foster a friendly environment.
“This is the Lord’s work,” volunteer Bonnie Moreno said. “The people might be down on their luck, but we recognize them as human beings. We serve the needy, not the greedy.”
Volunteers say they prepare approximately 5,000 bags of groceries per month and serve more than 400 families.
Concordia Parish’s low socio-economic status makes the Delta Store Front Mission especially critical, volunteer Carolyn McCollum said.
The average household income for Concordia Parish is $28,705 and 31 percent of people live below the poverty line. Louisiana’s median household income is $44,086 and 18 percent of residents live below the poverty line.
“Some people that come in only have food stamps as their income,” volunteer Susan Rabb said.
The mission’s customers occasionally donate small amounts of money for items from the mission, but donations aren’t required.
Customers can take home 15 items per week for free after showing proof of low income. Customers’ grocery allotment is determined based on income.
Groceries are largely provided through the Alexandria Food Bank and donations from Ford’s Food in Jonesville.
The mission hands out grocery bags during the first 15 days of each month. The bags typically include canned goods, cereal, cookies, bread and other basic food items.
“It’s really nice to have people come and see them smile when they get a bag of groceries,” volunteer Ruby Sowels said.
Volunteers aren’t simply handing out free food and clothes. Rabb said she also tries to build a friendship with the mission’s customers.
“I try to give them a hug when they come in and say hi,” Rabb said. “It’s important to get to know them and make them comfortable when they come in.”
On Thursdays and Fridays the Rev. Rufus Turner holds a prayer service at the mission.
The services include singing and a brief prayer. On Friday, 34 people, including volunteers, participated in the prayer service.
Others have noticed the mission’s generosity and returned the favor.
In 2012, Kingdom Builders of the Lord — a non-profit organization — spent $35,000 to renovate the mission.
Volunteer Edna Craft said the renovation repaired leaks in the roof, replaced ceiling tiles and painted the interior of the building.
Moreno said the renovation was much needed, but the mission is always looking for additional help.
“We are always looking for donations,” Moreno said. “Somehow the Lord always provides.”
The mission accepts donations from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
To contact the Delta Store Front Mission, call 318-757-3267.