WOW.......15 years ago today the HOPE outreach program of First Baptist Wentzville opened their doors to serve food to our hungry neighbors. In the first month, May 2004, we gave 100 bags of food to 30 families, and all with 185 volunteer hours to "set up shop" from the team.
Today, fifteen years later, we are serving over 5,000 people annually, 500 families per month. We have seen many trends through the seasons; the difficult year of 2011, with being top 10 in the Nation in unemployment, we were serving double the amount of families compared to now with the many jobs in our "General Motors" community.
We have seen many broken families over the years that received many prayers and hugs of encouragement; we have also seen many with injuries and disabilities, cancer and medical issues. Many folks with confessed substance abuse that overcame. Including the man that received the "lecture" from me when he was drinking alcohol in the church parking lot while waiting for his Thanksgiving meal.... (The following week he apologized to me. Since then, we have had a great friendship and I am happy to share he is "alcohol free” years later.)
So many wonderful relationships built within the HOPE community, as well as, in the HOPE family. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of this outreach, even though you all have taken away my many jobs of cleaning, data entry, lifting heavy boxes, late hours of work, giving Saturdays, and begging people for money...LOL
I love this community, our Church, our administration team, and all of YOU ... thank you for the great years of service!