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Resources for needy to get food are listed

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Following is a list of food resources available in Henry County and Martinsville to those in need, their requirements, if any, and contact information:

"¢ Agape Bible Christian Fellowship, 240 E. Market St., Martinsville, 634-5522, provides a free hot lunch from noon to 2 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month from October through April. Anyone may attend. Also, the church delivers plates to homebound people on the day of the meal. To make arrangements call the church at 634-5522 and leave a message, call ministry leader Barbara Jamison at 957-2344, or send someone to the church to pick up a plate. Jamison said an average of about 40 people are served in person or with takeout plates. The church funds the project. If the day of the lunch is changed, public notice is given through fliers or the news media, Jamison said.

"¢ Angel Food Ministries has three locations to order and pick up food: Bassett Worship Center, Living Waters Church of God of Prophecy and Miracle of Faith Ministries, according to its Web site. People of any income can buy food at a discounted price once a month. Various types of food boxes are available. People may order online with a credit or debit card by going to, and the food will be delivered to the nearest church their ZIP code. Or food may be ordered through any of the three participating local churches by paying up front with cash, money order or food stamps, and the food will be available for pickup several days later at the church where the order was placed.

At Bassett Worship Center, 7301 Fairystone Park Highway, Bassett, call Henrietta Robinson, program coordinator, at 629-5021 or at the church at 629-3826 to set up a time to place an order in person. The deadline for ordering for December is Dec. 7. Food pickup is scheduled for from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Dec. 12 at the church. For most months, place orders by the third Monday and pick up orders the following Saturday from 8 to 8:30 a.m., but confirm the schedules. Orders can be placed once a month. Bassett Worship Center also has a food pantry for the "very needy," Robinson said. Call the church at 629-3826.

At Living Waters Church of God of Prophecy, 6500 Greensboro Road, Ridgeway, the normal schedule is for people to place orders with coordinator Faith Braziel at the church on Tuesdays, usually from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The cutoff date for placing an order is usually the second Tuesday of the month, and Braziel is at the church on the cutoff day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Normally, the food is delivered the third Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Schedules may change, so call 252-2983 or 956-3670 to confirm the schedule.

Living Waters also has a food pantry for people who cannot buy food. The church can help a needy person or family only once every three months, Braziel said. For help, call her at 252-2983.

At Miracle of Faith Ministries, 705 Liberty St., Martinsville, normally the cutoff date for placing an order is the seventh of the month and the food is available for pickup at the church the following Saturday between 10 and 11 a.m. Bring a picture ID when picking up food. The schedule is different for December. Call 632-5650 for more information.

The church also has a limited food pantry for people with emergency needs. Call Associate Minister Jinnifer Vernon at 632-5650.

"¢ Calvary Christian Church, 515 Mulberry Road, Martinsville, 632-4577, free supper from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month from September through May, said the Rev. Mike Carrow. Anyone can come, and the average attendance is about 100 a night.

"¢ Christ Episcopal Church, 311 E. Church St., Martinsville, 632-2896, offers "Loaves & Fishes" free community supper from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month except July in the undercroft (basement) of the church. Attendance has ranged from 40 to 150, said Jane Thomasson, coordinator. Funding comes from a parishioner at Christ Episcopal and from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Martinsville. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Martinsville also participates. Some food is donated.

"¢ Community Storehouse, 205 Cleveland Ave., Martinsville, 632-9002, provides food from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday, but clients may come only once a month. A needs assessment, reviewing income and expenses, is done when people apply for assistance, and photo IDs and utility bills are required to verify residency, said Nancy K. Nelson, founder/executive director.

The storehouse also offers a backpack program to provide food for school-aged children on weekends. The program serves about 400 children and its budget is $133,525. That is included in the storehouse's total budget of more than $285,000 for calendar year 2009, Nelson said. "We desperately need more people (or businesses or groups) to sponsor children" in the backpack program, Nelson said. The cost is $250 a year or $20 a month per child, she said.

Community donations help the storehouse. But most of the storehouse funds come from a thrift store it operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Clothing, household items, furniture, books and personal and health care items are available at low prices, she said.

"¢ First Baptist Church of Collinsville participates in SHARE Virginia, a nonprofit community service and food distribution program of New River Community Action, according to the church's Web site. The only requirement is that participants compete two hours of volunteer work for each package they purchase. The church is at 3339 Virginia Ave., Collinsville, (phone 647-3774). According to SHARE Virginia's Web site, the food is sold at a discounted price.

"¢ First United Methodist Church, 146 E. Main St., Martinsville, 638-8733, free lunch (Lunch Bunch) from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the fellowship hall, according to church officials. Anyone may come. Food must be eaten on premises. The church also has a U.S. Department of Agriculture food pantry (there are income qualifications and only certain foods are offered) from 9-11 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month at 51 Lester St. Also at that time and place, the church has a general food pantry for anyone in need and a clothes closet. All the services are free.

"¢ Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County, 433 E. Commonwealth Blvd., 638-8500, provides short-term assistance for essential life needs in times of crisis. Food and/or financial assistance with housing/electric/home fuel bills is available from 9 am. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and on Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. Eligibility is determined by an interview process, including a review of income and expenses.

Grace also offers financial education and is involved with United Way's HOPE Initiative in helping people prepare their income taxes (there is an income maximum).

The nonprofit agency has a $405,000 budget (from such sources as contributions from more than 80 congregations, grants from United Way and others, donations from individuals and food drives), said Jenniffer Jamison, executive director of Grace Network. Ninety percent or more of the food Grace Network distributes is donated. Most of the budget goes to financial aid, Jamison said.

"¢ Two community resource sheets listed Greater Love Ministries, 701 N. Memorial Blvd., Martinsville, as a food resource. However, the church could not be reached for comment. Call 632-0348 to confirm.

"¢ The Henry County Food Pantry and Clothes Closet is open from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the old Bassett Middle School (EMI Imaging), 3289 Riverside Drive, Bassett, 629-1369. USDA foods (for those who qualify, and USDA provides only certain foods) and other foods that are purchased by or donated to the food pantry are distributed, said Sharon Mills, site director.

On average, food boxes for 1,100 to 1,300 people are distributed each month, but on Nov. 18, Mills said 600 boxes of food for more than 1,600 people were distributed.

A clothes closet is held at the same time and location as the food pantry. It includes clothes, household items and furniture are available for the needy. There is no charge for the food or the items at the clothes closet, Mills said.

She said the Henry County Food Pantry and Clothes Closet operates on "donations and prayers." The cost of the food is about $2,500 a month, the building is donated, and there are 25 to 40 volunteers, she said.

"¢ Henry-Martinsville Social Services, 20 E. Church St., Martinsville, 656-4300, food stamps, fuel assistance and emergency and general relief financial help for qualified clients.

"¢ One Accord Baptist Church Food Pantry, Kings Mountain Road, Martinsville, 627-0310. People in need may come only once a month to the food bank on either the first or third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. If there are emergency food needs at other times, call Peggy Taylor, director of the food pantry, at 627-0310. USDA foods and other foods that are purchased by or donated to the food pantry are distributed.

This food pantry is the designated pantry for the Henry County Baptist Association, made up of 31 local churches, according to Taylor and a Web site. Taylor said the panty operates through USDA donated foods, funds from the Virginia Baptist Association and other monetary and food donations.

"¢ Salvation Army, 603 S. Memorial Blvd., Martinsville, 638-7259, offers services including a soup kitchen, food pantry and financial assistance for housing and utilities.

"¢ Southern Area Agency on Aging (SAAA), 204 Cleveland Ave., Martinsville, 632-6442, provides home-delivered meals, congregate meals (group sites where meals are served), medical equipment, transportation, recreation, in-home personal care, respite care and other services. Some fees may be charged for some services, depending on income.

Anne Smith, quality assurance coordinator for SAAA, said hot meals are served at the Martinsville Senior Center, 21 Moss St., 656-5260, on Wednesdays; at Bassett Memorial United Methodist Church, 2805 Riverside Drive, 629-2869, on Wednesdays; Preston Community Center, Martinsville, on Tuesdays; Moral Hill Baptist Church, 50 Moral Hill Drive, Axton, 650-3907, on Mondays and Wednesdays. The meals generally are served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The only requirement is that the client be at least 60 years old. People must sign up for the program in advance by going to the center or church.

The congregate meal sites served 118 people in Henry County and 85 in Martinsville for the year that ended Sept. 30, 2009, Smith said. The program receives federal, state and local funds, and clients are asked to pay what they can, she said.

People have to be age 60 or older and be homebound for home-delivered meals, Smith said. There is a waiting list. Call SAA at 632-6442 to arrange a needs assessment.

"¢ Southside Community Action Program, 58 W. Church St., Martinsville, 666-0313. SCAP normally provides free government food for children under 18 (or older young people with handicaps) at several sites during the summer, said Danielle Hairston, office assistant at SCAP.

"¢ Temple of Christ Apostolic Church, 1018 Fisher Farm Road, Ridgeway, 956-2770, has a food pantry on the first Saturday of each month from noon to 2 p.m., according to three community resource lists. But a church official could not be reached for comment. Call to confirm.

"¢ Victory International Ministries (VIM), old Fieldcrest Mills office, operates a food bank from 1 to 2 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, said director Al Allsbrook, director, and clients can come every week. Requirements are hardship and proof of residency in Henry or Patrick counties and Martinsville. Once a month, from 1 to 5 p.m. on the third Tuesday, it distributes USDA food to those who qualify, he said.

Allsbrook said VIM, which is part of Victory Baptist Church, serves about 225 families, or 700 people, a week. He said the program needs about $25,000 a year just to meet costs and it accepts donations.

"¢ 2-1-1 - Tiffany Haworth, resource and capacity director of United Way of Henry County & Martinsville, said anyone can dial toll-free 2-1-1 (24 hours a day, seven days a week) or go to to get information on food resources.

"¢ The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs offer free or reduced-priced meals for qualifying children, and somewhat subsidized meal prices for other children. Also, the Summer Food Service Program is the single largest federal resource available for local organizations that want to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program for children. For information, go to

"¢ Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 824 Starling Ave., Martinsville, 632-9263, has a food pantry.

"¢ Applications can be made online at for food stamps; Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).


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