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Food ministry plans for new building site to better serve the community

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

Over the past year and a half, the Loaves and Fishes Food Ministry in Elizabethton have been serving those in need by preparing and giving out hot meals and food boxes five nights a week, every week.

The growth of the ministry over recent months has been tremendous, as volunteers serve up to 30,000 pounds of food each month to anyone who needs it. And while the growth allows for more people to be fed, there is also a drawback to how much the ministry has expanded: storage capacity.

As it stands right now, all food that is donated to the ministry is kept on-site at River’s Edge Fellowship, reducing the amount of space available for other things within the church.

Pastor of the Loaves and Fishes Ministry Darrin Smith, expanded on this saying, “Our ministry is expanding to a point where it is too large for the space that we currently have. Right now we are using the spaces for Children’s and Youth Ministries for our food ministry and we would like for those ministries to be able to return to their original space.”

Due to the growth of Loaves and Fishes, an idea was brought up for a separate building for the food ministry. An idea that is no longer an idea, but a plan.

“The building that we are going to construct will be 7,500 square feet, and there will be three sections with a kitchen on one end to prepare hot meals, the food warehouse in the middle for storing donations and distributing food boxes, and a thrift store on the other end to help supply funding for bills and other costs.”

Smith continued saying, “It is moving slowly right now, but we have a very generous donor that has offered to pay for the structure when materials are available. We were hoping to have the structure built in the next three months, but due to circumstances a realistic goal for a finished product will be around the beginning of next year.”

This structure will be a huge step for the Loaves and Fishes Ministry, not only by clearing out space in the current site but by bringing all parts of the ministry close together in a spacious structure.