SAN ANTONIO—The demise of a national ministry to the poor sparked the creation of a church-based ministry that already has grown beyond its organizers' expectations—just in time to ease the burden of low-income families during the holidays.
In September, Angel Food ministries ceased operations, leaving thousands of client families around the country without access to affordable food. But Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio decided to launch its own Bountiful Blessings ministry to meet that need locally.
Since Trinity Baptist had been participating with Angel Food, donated funds already were available to purchase food for distribution to needy families, noted Ruth Cawthon, a leader of Bountiful Blessings.
By buying staple items from the San Antonio Food Bank, Trinity Baptist can provide a large box of food to a family for $7.50, she noted.
Sixteen boxes are designated for alumni and outpatients at Alpha Home, a nonprofit treatment center for chemically dependent women Trinity Baptist founded more than 45 years ago, Cawthon explained. Another seven boxes go to students at Baptist University of the Américas who are in need.
In November, church members sponsored an additional 12 needy families to receive food boxes.
Families also can select a number of food items that change from month to month, depending on what the food bank has to offer. One recent Saturday, options included dinner rolls, chips and spaghetti sauce, as well as fresh produce and other items.
"The Lord has given us a passion for this program," Cawthon said. "We didn't know what we were going to do when we found out we'd no longer be able to participate through Angel Food. But now we're able to serve more families than ever before."