GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – A special ministry at a church in Gatlinburg has become more important than ever since the tourism industry shut down due to the coronavirus.
WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare shares how a grant from the Holston Foundation is helping to expand a food pantry service.
The “Bread of Life Ministry” in Gatlinburg was re-supplied at 12 p.m. Tuesday.
Every two months, Second Harvest Food Bank delivers pallets of canned goods to fill the pantry at First Methodist Church of Gatlinburg.
Today’s drop-off of non-perishable food is especially needed since the vast majority of this town’s service industry workers are unemployed because of COVID-19.
The need for food has nearly doubled since Gatlinburg shut down nearly five weeks ago to slow the spread.
For years, the Bread of Life Ministry has been the heart of First Methodist’s Community outreach.
Every Tuesday, bags of food are packed, but more food has been needed since the massive layoffs.
Thanks to a grant from the Holston Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Methodist Conference, extra food is being purchased to fill pantries.
As the church van arrives at a rental motel, social distancing rules have changed the process.
No longer do people come to the van, instead, Reverend Clark delivers the bags of food directly to the apartments, and to the people in need where it is received joyfully.
Over the last few weeks, the Holston Foundation provided grants to dozens of Methodist churches throughout the conference. The philanthropic Holston Foundation recently approved a $56,000 emergency grant to aid food banks.
This includes all of East Tennessee, parts of North Georgia and Southwest Virginia.
Fifty-five ministries are being helped in various ways, for instance, First Methodist of Gatlinburg offers what is called hiker bag lunches and snacks which are available seven days a week and are in high demand.
The door-to-door food delivery service is expected to continue as long as the virus rules apply.