BEDFORD — they come in all kinds of vehicles. Box trucks, pickups dragging trailers, and even compact cars swarm in the parking lot behind 6 Stones. It’s 8:30 am on a Thursday, and dozens of local nonprofits will rotate through the 6 Stones warehouse in the next few hours. Each of them will take at least a pallet of food back home. As of this week, 6 Stones and Midwest Food Bank serve 44 local partners… and counting.
Midwest has been operating out of the warehouse since the summer of 2018. The program is still gaining momentum, but it has already moved more food than we processed in the course of the entire year in 2017. That means more reliable supplies for the New Hope Center every week. It also means that we can help other communities work together as we do here in HEB.
Partner Spotlight – Beyond Hope Ministries
13 years ago, Laura Marie Cooper hit rock bottom. Divorced, wheelchair-bound, and raising three kids on her own, she found herself desperately searching for hope. She lived out of her car for a season. Now, after recovering her ability to walk and settling into a new apartment, she uses her little Ford Focus to feed others.
“I know what it’s like to be homeless, I know what it’s like to be hungry. There’s no worse feeling than being hungry and homeless,” Cooper said. “Although I may not can provide a home, I can provide food.”
Cooper, an ordained minister who launched her ministry as a personal effort, now feeds homeless and isolated individuals across Kaufman county. She operates with the support of her church, but the nonprofit is hers alone: she stores everything she distributes in her car or apartment. Small operations like hers depend on community connection, and may not qualify for support from traditional food distribution services. Even if she did, she couldn’t process truckloads of supplies every week.
Instead, she fills her car with food provided by 6 Stones and Midwest Food Bank.
“This definitely supplies more food for me to feed more people who are in need,” she said.
“Everyone that is here is awesome; they serve the Lord, they have the heart of a servant. And they’re eager to get the food distributed throughout the community… It’s just an amazing feeling to see God work in a group of people.”
Partner Spotlight – Solid Rock House of God
Leadership from Solid Rock House of God in Wichita Falls, TX arrived at 6 Stones in unusual fashion: driving an EMS vehicle. The converted box truck sat in the parking lot next to a more traditional trailer as they met with Midwest Food Bank representatives. This, their first ever visit to the warehouse, proved to be bigger than they anticipated.
“Our ministry and our goal at the Solid Rock House of God is to reach the youth and to feed the homeless and feed those that are hungry. That is the reason that we are here,” Rev. David Sapata said. “we see a need in the community, and we feel that nobody should be hungry. That is the reason God has laid it in our hearts to feed them.”
According to Reverend Sapata, the area around the church suffers from a combination of hunger and addiction. The church wants to bridge the gap for families — and especially for youth — in their community in order to help break the cycle of poverty there. As they loaded their vehicles with provisions to be distributed over the weekend, they spoke eagerly about the number of people they would be able to feed. Sapata pointed out that the new partnership dramatically increased their capacity. Perhaps more importantly, he said, it showed the power of the Church to work together.
“As we all work together, we are able to reach more people here in this community. I extend a helping hand to you, you extend a helping hand to me, and we are able to reach a broader range of people,” he said. “That’s what I believe in; unity in the Body of Christ.”
Partner Spotlight – Charis Initiative
Every week, Ron Monroe and Charis Initiative pick up and distribute an entire truckload of food. The size of that truck may vary (from 7 feet of pickup to 26 feet of box truck), but the mission never does. Ron wants to help men and women stabilize and stay off the streets of Fort Worth.
“They say that if you’re down in the homeless corridor, within about 90 days you’ve lost all of your hope… if someone doesn’t come alongside you and walk beside you, you are not going to make it out. It becomes a trap,” Monroe said.
“Our whole goal for homeless ministry — and even for folks that are just struggling — is to move them to the next level.”
Monroe says that his time in ministry has changed his perspective on homelessness. He’s discovered that very few individuals are on the streets as the result of their own poor choices. Most were put there when one or two unexpected problems caused their lives to spiral out of control. The key to their recovery is a supportive relationship; one that often starts with a simple act of charity.
“What 6 Stones has done for me is they’ve put something in my hand that I can give to someone else,” Monroe said. “Once I’ve engaged them, then I’ve got their attention and we can go on to deeper matters.
“These folks, they need things all throughout the year. And I’m thankful for folks that come during this time of year, but it really makes my heart warm when they come and they embrace the concept of helping and then they begin to come on a more regular basis. That’s really what the Church needs to do.
“I think everyone should find some way to give back.”