By Devese “Dee” Ursery
TROY — Over 465 Troy residents were able to enjoy a festive Christmas due to the help of a very charitable community.
Ministries Unlimited held its annual fundraiser on Dec.16, and from 9 a.m. to noon 129 registered families were able to pick up Christmas Boxes at Bethel Baptist Church located at 7775 Collinsville Rd.
Ministries Unlimited is a local non-profit food pantry that provides assistance to less fortunate individuals in the Triad School District communities of Troy, St. Jacob and Marine. The organization is a local, all-inclusive ministry of caring that is fully supported by donations from community churches, residents, and local businesses that is run by volunteers.
According to Kathy Scheller, Director of Operations, the Christmas Boxes are put together by volunteers at the pantry and include everything for a Christmas dinner plus extra food to help through the holidays.
“Food items are collected by our local Daycares, Triad Student Council, and local businesses,” Scheller said. “Depending on how successful these drives are, determines how much we can pad the boxes with extra food items.”
Scheller said the MU Fundraiser originally started as a homebound gospel service in 1978. She said during Christmas of that same year they received an anonymous donation to help a needy family. “The first year they helped five families at Christmas, which was funded by local churches,” Scheller continued.
Eventually the need grew and the current location was built in the 1990’s.
“I believe that was the first annual fundraiser. The land was donated, but they did fundraisers for the building.”
Scheller said Triad Strong started doing the gift portion of the Fundraiser in 2020 due to Covid.
Since then, they have increased the number of families they are able to help. “This year 60 families received gifts for their children,” Scheller continued.
Help For The Holidays sends out a link to previous year donors and posts the link on Facebook. Donors pick as many children as they want to adopt and are given suggestions for each child.
There’s a spending limit of $100 per child.
“Some families miss the deadlines, so this year we partnered with Tailor-Made Physical Therapy to have a giving tree. Their clients donated at least one gift per child. We added to those through other donations either through Ministries Unlimited or Triad Strong,” Scheller said.
“I also have families or groups approach me about adopting a needy family. We had two families that were helped anonymously this year and our Elf and his helpers delivered their gifts and food boxes.”
MU has collected $34,641 towards its goal of $50,000. Their plan is to continue their current operations and expand to help children at risk for hunger.
“This is a new program we are hoping to start and sustain starting in 2024,” Scheller said. “Thanks to communities like ours, we are able to support organizations that help our local families.”
The money raised covers MU’s building expenses, purchasing of perishable items, Summer Lunch Program, a scholarship, and purchasing items that we routinely run low or out of, Scheller said. MU is partnering more with individuals in the Triad School District to help fight hunger in schools.
“There are many families that don’t qualify for free school lunches, but can’t afford a lunch for their child either,” Scheller said. “These programs have restrictions on what we can put in the sack lunch and cost money to operate.”
MU collaborates with local businesses that donate goods to help forward the cause of helping those in need. Pete’s Hometown Grocery helps out by donating items twice a week to help fill the Pantry shelves, refrigerators, and freezers with a large selection of items. Troy Foods provides MU with their weekly meat selections and turkeys for their Christmas boxes. Kelly’s Butcher Shop also provides the Pantry turkeys and hams for our Christmas boxes as well.
Patrons must call during business hours to schedule a food pick-up for the next day. If a patron misses their assigned time slot, they will need to call and schedule another time slot for the following day. Food distribution will be Tuesday – Friday and each person will be allowed 20 minutes to shop for their food items based on the list provided for family size. If you are more than 5 mins late for your appointment it will be automatically canceled.
Individuals must have two forms of identification with each food pick-up. A photo ID either a driver’s license or state ID and a piece of mail dated the current month and with the complete address. Patrons must allow two weeks (14 days) between pick-ups.
Christmas is a time of giving and hope. As a community, those who give are blessed with the joy of giving. It’s a selfless act that takes the stress off of those in need of assistance. It warms the hearts of both the giver and the receiver. Hunger is a problem worldwide, but we can help our neighbors by donating locally. “At Christmas, gifts bring so much joy to children so we give a little joy for the holidays,” Scheller continued.