Hello! What an unusual, yet simple, way to begin a letter about the Gospel Mission Food Pantry. Perhaps it would be better if I said, "Hello and thanks so much." I guess I feel as though I have gotten to know so many of you, that the old-fashioned way of greeting you is best for us. Certainly, it is a challenge to go into much more depth about our pantry than I have already done in 2013. On behalf of so many GMFP guests, let me say that "You and I plus a large number of volunteers really did the job in 2013" ... so, let me provide you with some key statistics for the last half of the year. We began to complete a detailed data sheet on each guest beginning May 29, and we maintained this process through year-end 2013. Our results are impressive and I want to share them with you:
Total guests served: 13,503.
Total bibles distributed: 562.
Total children served: 4,248.
Total single parents: 1,295.
I am not reluctant to over-speak God's role in this success. Certainly, he opened many doors for us and he encouraged us to continue our work through rougher times. It is not that we are so brave, it is that we trust God and we know for sure that our work is encouraged and completed with his full support. Look, there has just been too many traumatic events in 2013 for someone not to be "in there" taking care of us. Actually, God's roadmap is easy for us to follow ... our doors are always open, we turn no one away, we do not limit the number of times guests are permitted to knock at our door and we maintain a constant awareness of those "who need to talk" or share their problems.
Let is be said, that few guests come to our door for food alone ... most want to be part of our lives and find answers to what pulls at their heartstrings.
Look, we know that the streets have little pity for our troubled guests. We know that our guests have struggled to find answers and have often times failed. So much of the time there is no one there to catch them when they fall. Therefore, it is our goal to be there for them until they do not fear being alone or hungry. That's it ... there is no more for the Gospel Mission Food Pantry.
Our results for 2013? Well, let's keep it simple ... during the last half of the year we served 13,503 guests. Some were lost. Some were almost lost. Some were on their way to an improved lifestyle. Some will never succeed. We, through our smiles at them, greet them with warmth, offer food and try to work our way through their loneliness. That's our game ... and yes, we have a friend in Jesus.
Won't you stop by and see us in 2014? Hey, park your car on Lancaster Street, grab your bag full of peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables and then walk into the Gospel Mission Food Pantry asking, "Where is Candy?"
I hope you and your family had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please call (740) 350-4417 if you ever need us to help you.
God bless ye.
The Gospel Mission Food Pantry,
309 Lancaster St., Marietta.