Collegedale, Tenn., area Southern Singles Ministry director Deborah Burns sat down and shared with Jerry Fore, General vice president, about their outreach ministry, Heaven’s Bounty.
Why did you start a food ministry?
Heaven’s Bounty started in 2009 because one of the singles did not have any food. She was going through the dumpster digging for food, got caught, and people heard about it. We started by just going to Bi-Lo’s in Ooletwah to get food to help those who do not have food. It all started in a garage, we then moved to a basement, and now we are a food bank located at 11302 First Street, Apison, Tenn. Bill Hullander, Hamilton County Trustee and Apison resident, greatly discounted the space for Heaven’s Bounty to support the effort.
When are you open?
Heaven’s Bounty is open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 1:30-3 pm.
Thursdays we distribute food from the pantry, including dried goods, and whatever we have available. We distribute fruits and vegetables other days.
Who is served?
There is no official screening, just come. The food bank requires an application that helps report with information including the number of households, adults, children, and seniors. Six reports are required at the end of each month for the food bank
Where do people come from? Who?
Above Cleveland, Dayton area in Tenn., and Georgia. There is really no limit where you live as long as you need help. We serve anyone in the community, single mothers, families, and the elderly.
How does this work?
Most of the staff who volunteer are part of Southern Singles Ministry. Several area grocery stores donate produce regularly. Those who are in need can get the food free. Heaven’s Bounty serves as the coordinator and distributor.
How does Heaven’s Bounty meet needs?
Some people use Heaven’s Bounty when their food stamps run out. Others have no way of supporting themselves and need the food. Others do not even have gas money to come and get the food. There are many stories and there is a great need.
How many do you serve?
In 2014, Heaven’s Bounty served 136,741 pounds of food. On average, they assist 150 families and 465 individuals per month.
by Jerry Fore, general vice president