According to Phyllis Whitley, treasurer, Loaves and Fishes delivered 7,262 meals in 2009. Around 35 customers are receiving a midday meal on weekdays, one more than the average a year ago.
The cost to prepare meals is now $5.78, a penny higher than a year ago. Two years ago the cost of a meal was $4.64. Clients are still charged $3.
In 2009, Loaves and Fishes spent $46,569.10, which was $3,000 less than in 2008. Income totaled $49,066.53, or $2,000 less, than in 2008.
Whitley said donations are still invaluable in keeping the service going. Monthly donations are made to Loaves and Fishes by New Site Baptist Church, Countryside Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the women's auxiliary at the Macedonia Freewill Baptist Church.
Organizations, churches and businesses that made donations to the service in 2009 were: the Pearl Foundation; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans; St. John's Lutheran Church in Monett; Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Aurora; Waldensian Presbyterian Church; EFCO Corporation; Jack Henry and Associates; the Freistatt Lions Club; the Monett Lions Club; the Monett Kiwanis Club from the Logan McKee Fund; Monett Community Foundation; the Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund and the Walmart Community Foundation.
Donations were also received from Billie McCarthy, Mr. and Mrs. Vern Hopkins, Mildred Reynaud and Perry Renfro.
The Celebration Tea, an annual event held by Loaves and Fishes in January at the First United Methodist Church, raised $2,300, Whitley said.
Election of officers
Those attending the meeting voted to retain the leaders who have run Loaves and Fishes for the past several years. Re-elected were: Larry Shanks and Mary K. Scott, co-presidents; Darlene Kelley, vice president for volunteers; Phyllis Whitley, vice president for communications and treasurer; Dorothy Cawthorn, recording secretary; and Janie Bates, financial secretary.
Also serving in leadership roles are: Emma Jean McCormick, packer chairman; Mary Spivy, Dorothy Moore, Jane Patton, Peggy Costley, and Mary K. Scott, daily chairmen; and Margie Gripka, Ray Spree and Tony Martin, board members.
"We can always use board members," said Shanks. "We welcome new ideas."
Guest speaker for the luncheon was Rev. Jarel Burnside, pastor at Arnhart Baptist Church. Burnside praised the volunteers for what they do, especially for taking on a task done without seeking reward or recognition.
"This is a humble and very quiet ministry," Burnside said. "The true believer serves Christ because Christ loved him. He's serving because Christ loved him. When you serve these folks, you're putting a meal in the hands of Christ.
"I urge you to continue to love one another. We never know exactly how much it means to those you are serving," Burnside continued. "Sometimes your clients would rather see your smiling face than a meal. Whatever we do, wherever we go, we need to let others see Jesus in us."
For more information about Loaves and Fishes, call 235-5723.