Monterey Mission Center provides help to their community
A few years ago, Albert and Kathryn Miller, of First Baptist Church of Monterey, were led by God to serve the church’s neighbors in need through an outreach program. 
Meanwhile, three couples from Florida felt called to move to Middle Tennessee after retiring from their careers in the Miami area. When these couples, Bruce and Beth Nelson, Jim and Livia McCracken, and Hugh and LaVonne Thompson, met the Millers, it wasn’t long before the Monterey Mission Center was born in the former parsonage house of the church, located at 701 South Holly Street in Monterey, Tenn.
“We just really felt God’s hand in all of this,” Beth said, “because we wanted to start a food ministry in Homestead. So when we found out what the Millers wanted to do here, we just dived in.
“We just really felt God brought us here for a purpose, and we just believe that this is it. It’s one of those things that God orchestrates that you can look back on and say, ‘Wow!’”
The Monterey Mission Center is committed to meeting the needs of the community through the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
The center began in March of 2011 by helping about 50 families every two weeks, and now has grown to help more than 200 families every two weeks. It is one of about 150 partner agencies supplied by Feed America First.
Monterey Mission Center offers prayer, counseling, food, clothing and education to the families they serve. They distribute food on the second and fourth Fridays every month, from 9 a.m. until noon.
Just one of the people served by MMC is little Brooklyn, who is two years old. Brooklyn lives with Renee and Jerry, the only parents she knows.
“She was taken from my sister when she was 3 weeks old,” Renee said. Originally Brooklyn was put into foster care, but Renee and Jerry were able to gain custody of her.
Jerry works as a drywall hanger, but work has been slow over the past few years, so the family turned to Monterey Mission Center for help.
“He has been out of work for two months at a time,” Renee said. “So it has helped out a lot – we have two sons, too. We’re able to pay our car insurance and other bills, and we don’t have to buy as much food.”
This is just one of an estimated 22,000 families served each month by Feed America First through our partner agencies, including the Monterey Mission Center.
For more information about MMC, call (931) 584-0046.
Alexandra Garcia, left, Sandra Garcia, LaVonne Thompson, Livia McCracken and Sandra Lutz volunteer their time assembling food boxes for the Monterey food distribution.

Food for Thought: ‘Protecting Your Wallet!’
Last month John and I went to a conference for nonprofit organizations sponsored by the Center for Nonprofit Management. The value of this conference, and of the Center, is that it teaches improvement in managing nonprofit organizations: FAF gets better by attending, and learning new ideas. Here is why this is important to you.
The marketplace of nonprofits is crowded!  There are so many charities competing for your dollar, and so many good causes. The better we manage, the more efficiently we can give you the most “bang for your buck”. And you want to know what measures the charity has put in place to protect you, so you can be sure your money is having the impact you want it to.
FAF has a Board of Directors, as required by the state. The Board’s role is to protect the community’s (your!) interests by overseeing our operation and holding us accountable, as well as to assist FAF in serving our mission. We also have to have a Charitable Solicitations Permit from the state to be able to legally raise money, and that requires an outside accountant to audit our finances each year to verify that the money is going where it is supposed to go. 
FAF also participates in Giving Matters (givingmatters.com) which is a clearing house for nonprofits. Charities are public organizations, so our tax returns, names of Board members, budgets, and more are required to be available to the public, so any charity can be checked out on Giving Matters.
But the BEST way to determine whether a charity is deserving of your money is to walk in and ask to see what they do and how they do it. 
We welcome your calls, visits, or volunteerism! To volunteer call John Philleo at 615-785-4821.
— Tom Henry is founder and executive director of FAF.


Blaine uses gifted hands to help others
After suffering a back injury a couple of years ago, Blaine Wilburn was laid off from his job. Despite his injury, he wanted to remain a productive member of society, so he started calling a list of charity organizations to see if he could do some volunteer work.
Finding a place to help out was a lot harder than he thought it would be. Nobody, it seemed, would let him help out because of his prior injury. Then he called Feed America First.
“When I called here, you all said, ‘Sure, come on,’ so I came,” Blaine said.
Since then, Blaine has become a regular volunteer at FAF, and has filled in several niches on a regular basis over the past 18 months. He prepares our banana boxes each week, and also helps with our printing and mailings on a monthly basis.
Perhaps Blaine’s greatest gift, however, are his talented hands. Blaine has a woodshop at his home, and made two bookshelves for our development office and made more than 50 wooden trains, puppies, trucks and helicopters to be given to children we serve as Christmas gifts last year. His plan is to make even more toys this year.
“I’m just going to try to make as many as I can,” he said.
Blaine enjoys serving at Feed America First, and has been through a lot of changes with us as we have continued to grow in the past two years.
“Knowing that I’ve helped somebody out, and that somebody will go to bed with food in their stomach makes me feel good,” Blaine said. “I like the people and the work that I do here, and Feed America First helped me when nobody else would by letting me volunteer here.”
Blaine and his wife, Patti, have been married for 26 years. They have three children, three grandsons, and two dogs. Patti and their daughter Stephanie and her husband, Rob, have also volunteered their time at FAF throughout the past 18 months.
Blaine’s other passion is animals, and he likes to rescue stray dogs and find homes for them.
Blaine and his family stand as excellent examples of community servants, and we are grateful to have their help and talents as part of our volunteer workforce!

Blaine Wilburn, a regular volunteer at FAF, sits in front of the bookshelves he made for the development office.

Flowers for sick among June blessings
As of this writing we are preparing for tomorrow’s food distribution in Murfreesboro, and I am thankful for the bounty we have to distribute. We have rice, beans, pasta, Idaho potatoes, soft drinks, juices, chips, yogurt, hot dogs, taco kits, crescent rolls, sausage biscuits, a variety of salads, and more for the 40 agencies visiting tomorrow. 
We have given away nectarines, strawberries, watermelons, and more fresh fruit, also, but I believe that our biggest surprise (for us and our client agencies!) has been ROSES!
Last Friday the FAF staff took 160 dozen roses to Middle Tennessee Medical Center, and their volunteers furnished 160 rooms with smiles. 
On the previous weekend, a Medical Mission in Murfreesboro served hundreds of families in need of health care, and we provided scores and scores of donated roses to those needy families. No one NEEDS roses, but they certainly do brighten up a day!
We welcome our newest staff member Whitney League this month to fill our administrative position, and we believe she answers our prayers. Whitney is talented, professional, and so much more detailed than me, and we are convinced that she will help us get better at our mission.
Finally, our financial results for June will be extraordinary, due to contributions from three notable foundations. More details to come in the future.

Feed America First employee Ken Lawrence holds a few bouquets of roses destined for MTMC.

Ken is a passionate ‘Mr. Fix-it’
Feed America First is blessed to have Ken Lawrence and his 30-plus years of experience on our operations staff.
Ken has been working for Feed America First since last November, and not only helps with the general warehouse operations, but performs maintenance on our machinery and fixes electrical and plumbing problems.
Ken is a licensed plumber and electrician, and in a place like our warehouse, those skills are invaluable.
“And having a happy spirit is part of his job, too,” added Tom Henry, our executive director, during Ken’s interview for this article.
Ken says that the opportunity to work for Feed America First has been a blessing from God.
“I enjoy helping all the different agencies that we supply with food,” he said. “I also like the opportunities I get to pray with everyone when they have requests.”
Ken and his wife, Margaret, have a blended family that includes four children and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Ken and Margaret are members of Murfreesboro Community Church, where Ken is a deacon. They also have a ministry in which they house individuals and families to help get them back on their feet.
Another of Ken’s passions is for gospel music. He has been singing and playing gospel for more than 50 years. He normally plays 5-string electric bass, but can also play guitar. 
He has played at the DOVE Awards and for the Southern Baptist Association Convention, with a gospel group called Just Passing Through.
Next time you’re at our warehouse, please make a point to say “Hi” to Ken, if you haven’t already. You’ll be glad you did!

Feed America First employee Ken Lawrence holds a few bouquets of roses destined for MTMC.

Go green by switching to e-newsletter
Our e-newsletter looks great and may fit better into a more modern lifestyle.
To cancel your printed newsletter and sign up for our e-newsletter, or to add our electronic edition, please contact John Philleo at (615) 785-4821, or john.philleo@gmail.com.