cedar ridge

Workers bring in boxes of Farm to family food into the warehouse at Cedaridge in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (KT) – Keith Decker has never seen such a bounty in his 30 years of doing ministry for Cedaridge Ministries.

Boxes and boxes of Farm to Family food is being provided at no cost through the federal government. It will be blessing eastern Kentucky families through the end of the month and Decker, a pastor at Black Oak Baptist Church and the president of Cedaridge, is thrilled to be a distributing partner.

They have delivered over 400,000 pounds of food in the past five days and the trucks with the boxes of fresh food keep coming.

“What I feel like the Lord is showing me, the more of these big trucks I can get into the community, the better,” Decker said. “He said, ‘You be ready to serve the people.’ Instead of us loading out to so many small organizations, we load these trucks, sit up and people can come and get it. They’ll be going all over. People can still come to our place and get it.”

It’s not only about meeting physical needs but spiritual ones, said Eric Allen, missions mobilization team leader of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

“It’s exciting to see how meeting a physical need opens doors for sharing the gospel,” he said. “That’s why Jesus so often healed and fed people before preaching to them. People will ask ‘Why are we giving away food?’ and then we have an opportunity to share about the hope that we have found in Christ.”

The Cedaridge truck is loaded and ready to roll with dozens of food boxes.The Cedaridge truck is loaded and ready to roll with dozens of food boxes.

The food comes from farmers’ excess in a federally developed program. It is being made available to families all across the United States. Decker learned of it through the Harvest of Hope Society of St. Andrews near Richmond, Virginia. The group asked if Cedaridge was interested in distributing the food. Now they are receiving multiple loads per day as he ministers to Whitley and surrounding counties who are coming to pick them up.

The box contains the following items:

--One gallon of milk

--Two pounds of yogurt

--Five pounds of potatoes

--Three pounds of onions

--Three pounds of apples

--1.5 pounds of diced grilled chicken breast

--24-ounce pack of polish sausage

--16-ounce block of cheddar cheese

“I’m so thankful for this ministry opportunity and partnership in which the government is providing food to meet a physical need and local churches are meeting a spiritual need by sharing Christ,” Allen said. “The boxes provide help and hope to families who are struggling during this pandemic.”

Allen has contacted other Association Mission Strategists in the KBC about receiving the food. He said boxes will be distributed in Shelby County and Rockcastle County.

“They wanted to know if we’d be interested in helping to distribute this food to communities and gave me a list of different families,” Decker said of the Hope Harvest. “We told them we had a 100,000 square-foot warehouse and 12 loading docks. We started receiving them Monday evening, then started getting two loads a day.”

The loads kept coming – at least nine by Thursday – and Decker said it has been a blessing from God.

“It’s just phenomenal,” he said. “It’s food from the farmers and it’s all packaged up. We don’t have to do anything but put it on the trucks.”

Cedaridge has set it up where they can bring a box truck full of food and distribute it straight from the truck. They are anchored at fire departments and schools. They invite the community to come and get it, Decker said.

“We’re doing to nine counties now and we keep reaching out,” Decker said. “We are trying to let more groups know about it. You have to learn your system and what works for you. This is what worked for us.”

Decker said Harvest of Hope has been looking for organizations that have loading docks so make the unpacking process is easier. So far, so good.

Decker said he is praying for a refrigerated truck. This program is supposed to go through October “but I want it to go longer than that,” he said. “Not just the program but what we’re learning. This is the way to get the most food to the most people. We’re thankful for what God has shown us.”

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