SPIRIT OF ALABAMA: Bread of Life - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL


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Over the years, it's been my experience that often the best stories are the simplest stories. Tonight is just that -- A group of caring people. No overhead, no board of directors, no government grants or hand-outs.  Simply a group of caring people showing the greatest compassion you can show -- feeding people who don't always know where their next meal will come from.

Four churches in Jasper work together because they care about peoples souls first and their basic needs.

It's not even Sunday, but Mondays are special too at Maranatha Baptist Church in Jasper. There's singing and preaching and a time for people to pray and make decisions about today and about eternity.

Jerry Boyd is the only pastor this church has ever had. Pastor Boyd knows something about spiritual and physical needs.

"If a man is cold and hungry, you put a coat around his back and put food in his stomach and then witness to him about Jesus," Boyd said with a smile.

Folks can get a hot meal here every Monday. It's been that way for years. And Pastor Boyd says Jasper is a caring community -- if you're hungry you can get a meal in Jasper nearly every day of the week.

"We serve on Mondays, the First United Methodist Church serves on Tuesday and Thursday and then the old Nazarene building they have one on Wednesday and Friday. So five days a week people in Jasper, Alabama the people in this area can get a good hot meal," Boyd explained.

Today they're celebrating 10 years of ministry through the Bread of Life ministry. Some of these folks have been involved in this work since it began. But, not surprisingly, no one wanted to take credit. No awards or plaques were given out -- the reward is simply the results.

"The Bread of Life Ministry is about ministering to the needs people physically, their physical needs, we have people who come that are homeless and that is their main meal of the day and we also make sure that they're ministered to spiritually," said Cathy Abbot, volunteer coordinator.

Lucky Teague is the director of missions for the Walker County Southern Baptist Association. He was one of the folks who had a vision for meeting the needs of people in west Jasper. He agrees that the cooperation among folks in Jasper and Walker County is what makes the Bread of Life Mission work so well.

"If we're willing to pool our resources and not interested in who's getting the credit there's a whole lot we can do you know, and I think of course the Lord deserves all the credit because he moves our hearts to do that," Teague said.

In the 10 years that the Bread of Life Mission has operated volunteers have served more than 50,000 meals -- 80 or more meals are delivered to people in their homes every week. Seven teams of volunteers come from First Baptist Jasper, and more than 100 other volunteers have been part of this great work.

It does your heart good to be around good folks, like the folks from four churches and all different walks of life who simply care abut others and do something about it every day, wherever the need is. That's the spirit of Alabama.

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