I often tell people, “I didn’t see it coming”, when asked, “How did the Bread of Life Ministries get its start?” I guess it is actually kind of funny…If I had planned it all out, it undoubtedly would not have worked…
-Co-Founder Bread of Life Ministries
One fall afternoon, over twelve years ago, my pastor and I were walking through the community and sharing the gospel. We happened upon a group of men sitting under a shade tree along Cherry Street, this street is the rear boundary of McIver Street School, now home of Bread of Life Ministries.
As we verbally shared the love of Christ with these gentlemen, we were impressed with the thought that no matter what we said, it would be very unlikely that any of them would be able to attend our church across town and enjoy a regular diet of God’s life changing word. Upon noticing a vacant lot adjacent to where they were gathered, we posed the question, “Would any of them be interested in attending a Bible Study if we came back the following week and set up in that lot?” We were greeted with a chorus of, “yeses, sure and by all means, etc.”
Upon learning about our plans, my wife, Turine, decided that she would prepare a meal to carry to the group…thank God for her foresight…I, on the other hand, prepared a message to preach. My intentions, though honorable, weren’t God’s intentions. Saturday arrived and we set off for Sanford. Once our destination was reached, we set up a couple folding tables in the alley and began serving hot meals to our neighbors in this impoverished portion of town. The meal was an instant hit…I never got to preach the sermon.
You have heard the motto, “Actions speak louder than words”, well that sums up the thrust of BOLM. What started small, as a bi-weekly meal cooked at home by my lovely wife and served in love along the street bordering an old un-used building, has grown tremendously.
Bread of Life Ministries of Sanford, Inc. is now a charitable corporation, with a Board of Advisors/ Directors from various churches within the community. The weekly Saturday meal is prepared by one of many volunteer serving teams and administered inside the facility after a word of encouragement and prayer. Approximately fifty carry-out plates are prepared and distributed to primarily home-bound residents at the Matthews Court and Stewart Manor facilities. This particular ministry was started by Carl and Jackie Clayton, by accident, of course. Carl also serves on the BOLM Board.
On any given Thursday, Pastor James Clark can be seen heading up the Food and Clothing Pantries, they are supported by a wonderful group of volunteers from all over. Patrons are treated with love and respect, encouraged and prayed for…many, many people have made decisions to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Although BOLM has grown considerably over the past twelve years, we still have much room for further growth. Many youths in this community need viable alternatives to how they spend their time. Homelessness continues to plague this particular region. Committed partnerships are needed in order to more effectively fulfill our vision and meet the needs.
Please consider taking the opportunity to let that tremendous light of yours shine where it is most needed…in the dark.
A wise man once said, “By this shall all men know you’re my disciples if you have love for one another”.
Thank you very much,