Jason Spears, pastor of non-denominational Providence Church, told members of the Dougherty County Rotary Club his church has partnered with other organizations to feed the hungry using low-cost packets of grains and nutrients.
ALBANY — On any given night, up to 14,000 people in Dougherty County are at risk for going to bed hungry. That’s what Jason Spears, pastor of Providence Church in Albany, told members of the Dougherty County Rotary Club last week.
Spears was speaking on the experiences of his non-denominational church in feeding hungry people in Dougherty County and the area.
Spears and his wife, Lisa, came to Albany five years ago wanting to be a part of a church which would do “anything it could” to make a positive impact on the community, Spears said.
The couple began to study the basic needs of the community and found the issue of “food insecurity” to be the overriding problem.
In their initial effort to feed the hungry, Spears and about 50 others raised money to provide Thanksgiving dinner for some 300 people in a small community.
“In some of the homes there were dirt floors or holes in the bottoms of their trailers,” Spears said.
According to Spears, it was information from the 2010 census and Feeding America, a nationwide organization dedicated to feeding the hungry, which showed that nearly 15 percent of the Doughtery County’s population is food insecure, with most of those being children and the elderly.
“Proverbs 14:31 says that anyone who is kind to the needy honors God and we want to be a group of people who honor God,” Spears said.
On each of the tables at the Doublegate Country Club, where Rotary held its lunch meeting, were samples of the food packets Providence Church and its partners use to feed the hungry as often and easily as possible and for the lowest cost.
Within each packet was a mixture of easily prepared grains and nutrients to provide six meals. The cost of a packet? $1.50.
Last December, according to Spears, around 200 volunteers came together in the “old Belk building” downtown and packaged 104,112 meals for the hungry in just three hours.
The building was provided for the event by Albany businessman Bob Brooks, which helped keep the total cost to just $25,000 — all of it raised by volunteers.
“It wasn’t just the church,” Spears said. “It was people in the business community, families and individuals. It was a great, great day and a lot of fun. We got to thinking what we could do if we had a little bit more time and how much greater the impact if more people got together and said ‘we’d like to be a part of this.’”
Spears said the food packets are stored at The Salvation Army. Partners in feeding the hungry, such as the SOWEGA Council on Aging, Love Thy Neighbor and The Anchorage, can easily pick them up for use or distribution.
Contact Providence Church at (229) 888-8055 or visit its website at providencepraise.com.