Sparrowhouse Ministries Serves those in Need UPDATE-December Schedule

Aerial View on November 20th

 

Sparrowhouse Ministries served 540 persons this past Saturday, November 20th from their headquarters at 907 South 3rd Street in Lamar.  While the facility, the former Calvary Baptist Church, offers about 10,000 square feet of storage space, not all of the pantries and freezers remain full.  Directors Joel and Veronica Jacoby said they had some welcome help to assist in the turnout.  “We had around 70 volunteers who turned up to help out.  Some were ordinary citizens who wanted to give us a hand, plus some persons from the Lions, Rotary and the city council.  Special thanks to Matt and the Prowers County Youth Council for their continued support as well as the Venture Group of local boy and girl scouts,” said Joel.

Joel and Veronica Jacoby with Cody Elwin

“We really didn’t consider the food offerings as a Thanksgiving meal,” explained his wife, Veronica, “but just a way to make sure families had enough food for the new week, and we decided to offer some more flexibility in the food items set up for donations.”  The couple said they may consider a similar event for the Christmas season, but their plans hadn’t been specified as yet.  Offhand, from 800 to 1,000 people come every month for food assistance. This past April, Sparrowhouse set up a mobile food pantry that serves the Kiowa County area one day a month, another indication of the continued need for food supplies in this region.

In 2018, Sparrowhouse moved into their present location, continuing the donations after the closing of the Mary and Martha Pantry, but offering just groceries instead and no clothing.  Sparrowhouse opens its food pantry on Thursdays, from noon to 1:30pm and again from 6pm to 7:30pm on the first and third Thursdays of the month and from 6pm to 7:30pm on the second and fourth.  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, an adjustment was made to hold it earlier in the month from 4pm to 7pm, that Saturday, when a line of people waiting for the donations began assembling.

Joel explained, “The Ministry accepts donations, but we don’t go from door to door, instead relying on grants to meet our expenses, and we do get local donations from the public.”  Earlier in the month, Alta Vista students contributed about 500 pounds of food and Scooters Coffee Shop donated 75% of their earnings for sales on November 22nd.  Scooters Manager, Cody Elwin was at the Ministry and from their conversations, the Jacoby’s and Elwin have been friends for a while.  “People don’t realize just how much they do in support of their community,” he stated.  Veronica added, “This is a small community and we know just how much and how often local businesses are approached for donations through the year which is why we look to grants for our general support.”

Joel became reflective in the Ministries’ mission, “I’d like to see the body of this community work together, and although it’s not easy to define, I’d hope it would be completely unselfish.  My agenda is to further the work of the Kingdom, while at the same time find others who would be willing to take on this work for future generations in need.”  Veronica added that, “We have mothers who are stressed out, just from trying to find a way to put food on the table for her family.  It shouldn’t, but it becomes a matter of choices for what they can afford, from food to medicine, to paying the utilities and in such a wealthy country, it shouldn’t have to be a worry, but it is.”

As you walk down the hallway of the main building, side doors open to several rooms lined with shelves holding non-perishable food items.  There are also two or three freezers that hold meats and milk.  Participants have the flexibility to choose what they need based on family size.  They don’t just enter in one door, get handed a box of food and exit several doors down the corridor.  The usual donation will last a family from two to three days each month.

The Jacoby’s have expansion plans to reach the needs of area residents.  “We’d like to open a woman’s rest room for local residents, but it has to be ADA compliant and that comes with a cost of $200,000.  We’re also planning to install an emergency generator for lights and the freezers and we have the room to use the main building as an emergency shelter should the need arise.  We could sustain lots of food for a period of time and even set up cots to provide a temporary shelter,” he said.

Joel is hoping they can get an assist from the city for some of their projects.  Recently the Lamar City Council offered help by hauling away all the cardboard the Ministry uses for food shipments each month.  The council and Prowers County Commissioners jointly discussed ways in which both parties could help, perhaps by waiving some basic construction fees.

Sparrowhouse Ministries can be contacted by calling 719-468-6999 or by emailing sparrowhousepantry@gmail.com.  They are open Thursdays and by appointment for emergencies.

By Russ Baldwin

Here is the schedule for December! The 4th week pantry is moved to Tuesday, and the pantry will be closed the 5th week. The mobile pantry to Sheridan Lake will resume in January. Please share, print, forward, etc. to reach those who may need help. We are not doing anything special for Christmas but we will be giving out extra foods especially since kids will be home for Christmas break. Thank you and as always- reach out if you have any questions!

 

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