Small Polk County congregation helps community in big way

A Polk County congregation is a blessing to residents in need of a meal.  

For Chris Hart, the Bags of Blessings Food Pantry is a much-needed lifeline. 

"It helps supplement the food because basically anything we earn enough cash that goes towards rent," he said. 

Hart is not alone. Every Tuesday, cars line up at Mount Zion AME in Mulberry to receive free food baskets from the Bags of Blessings Food Pantry, which started right before the COVID-19 pandemic.   

"We have some new families that come along, but we have those who are our regulars look forward to it and they express gratitude," said Anthony Satchel, president of Zion Ministries. "They really appreciate what we're doing. So, that's why we continued." 

Lamont Brewer is the vice president of Zion Ministries and says the group is small in number but big in heart. 

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"We have a board of four folks, but we wanted to step up to the table and do what we can. When we started, I think it was about 25 to 30 boxes of food and now we have up to 125 and we've not advertised this ministry. It's just word of mouth from the community," Brewer stated. 

Boxes outside UHaul truck for volunteers with Bags of Blessings

The small ministry could use some big help. They lost some of their suppliers and need donations from the public to continue feeding others.

"We have cans of some, you know, dry goods and rice and cereals and that type of thing and it's adequate, you know, so it's good for a snack, but it's not good for a full comprehensive meal," Brewer explained.  

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Mount Zion AME Church Pastor Cheryl Farrell says the mission is needed. 

Volunteers ahdn out food in car line for Bags of Blessings

"It's always important to give to the community. And that's what we're here for, not just the saving of the souls, but also feeding the physical body as well. It's still very important," Farrell said.  

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Zion AME Church proves big things can happen in small places. The group started two years ago and hand out more than 125 boxes of food each week. 

Mount Zion AME Church

The Bags of Blessing Food Pantry is located at 117 SW 4th Avenue, Mulberry, FL 33860. It’s open Monday - Thursday between 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Call 863-943-4778 for more information or to make a financial donation.