Franklin Parish has a population of just over 20,000, and 21% of the people there are food insecure. Thankfully, Food Bank partner agency Fresh Start Ministries is there to provide food and other support to those in need.
Situated just off Highway 425 in Winnsboro at River of Life Church, the Fresh Start food pantry has been feeding people since 2000. When they first started out, they were serving about 150 families per month. That number has grown to about 400 families as the word spread in the community that help was available.
Dee Wyrick recently took over as coordinator of the food pantry, and has a huge heart for serving others. “We are an outreach church, and I’ve always served in some way” said Dee. “I like the idea of helping people, and meeting a need in this community for food.”
Dee couldn’t do it alone, and relies on the help of dedicated volunteers like Brother Raymond and Amanda Beard, and Billy Joe and Phyllis White. When asked about what motivates them to give their time for this cause, “The people we serve don’t share much, but we can see that it’s tough,” a volunteer replied. “When you carry bags out for people, they are just so thankful.”
Along with the regular team of volunteers, there’s an additional group who helps out with the monthly food distribution. Fresh Start Ministries operates a faith based recovery program for people struggling with addiction. These men and women join in to serve others through the food pantry as they start their new lives.
Dee is motivated particularly to make sure no seniors go without food. “We see so many senior citizens here who aren’t making much money, and are often supporting kids and grandkids.” Dee said, “My heart is for the seniors and making sure they get what they need.” The church where the pantry is located also provides a place for the Food Bank’s monthly Senior Program distribution.
“We need to be followers of His word and feed the poor,” said Dee. “There are people that really need it and appreciate it.”