The Food Bank has over 60 community partners and programs that help us feed thousands of people every week. One of those partners is Grace Place Ministries in Monroe. Founded in 2001 by Rhonda Grace, the organization was originally a women’s ministry. As time went on and Rhonda became more involved in serving the neighborhood, she says “The Lord said “Feed the people,” so she started a soup kitchen in 2006. When they first began serving meals three days a week, they would have a maximum of 50 people for lunch. Now, the Grace Place Soup Kitchen has grown to serve about 300 people on an average day, or about 3,200 meals each month.
Grace Place also opened a food pantry, offering groceries from the Food Bank to their clients. About 150 families receive grocery assistance every month, which includes pantry staples, meat, dairy, and fresh produce. Rhonda says it means so much to her “knowing we are making a difference with hot meals and food.”
Although Rhonda now works mostly behind the scenes, the food ministry continues to run smoothly thanks to staff like Misty Loe, Andrea McDonald, and Ann Culvertson. These ladies ensure that the pantry is ready when the clients walk in the door, handle all of the intake paperwork, and offer love and support to those they serve. They recently changed their pantry to a “Client Choice” model, where people can take what they need, and leave the rest. “It feels good knowing that we’re giving food to people that they can cook and enjoy,” said Misty, “It gives people a sense of dignity, like they’re going to the grocery store.”
One can’t help but feel the immense love and care being served along with the food at Grace Place. While sometimes feeding everyone in need can seem an impossible task, Rhonda says “Take the one in front of you and love that one.” And love is certainly in the hearts of those who serve here. “By the Grace of God, we’re not all in that line,” said Misty, “None of this could be possible without the people who give to the Food Bank.”