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Monday, May 2, 2016

Loaves and Fishes group celebrates its volunteers

Monday, April 2, 2012

Officers for Loaves and Fishes took the oath of office at the annual volunteer luncheon. Shown, from left, are: Phyllis Whitley, Bill Roberts, Janie Bates, Larry Shanks, Geri Carey, Skip Smith. and Judy Hudson. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
Loaves and Fishes, the volunteer organization delivering hot meals to the elderly and shut-ins in the Monett area, finished 2011 with a positive financial balance. Details on the service year were shared at the annual luncheon on March 26, held at the First United Methodist Church in Monett.

Treasurer Phyllis Whitley said Loaves and Fishes delivered 6,917 meals in 2011, down from 7,130 in 2010. Cost of meals was $5.68, up from $5.58 in 2010. Presently the organization is serving around 28 clients, compared to 35 a year ago.

The organization received $41,817.49 to cover the cost of operations. Clients pay $3 for each meal, or $21,185.60. Donations contributed $9,285, the annual celebration tea raised $2,345, and memorials added another $1,500.

Whitley said Loaves and Fishes could not operate if organizers had to pay for all the services provided. For the foreseeable future, the $3 price for meals will continue.

Unlike recent years, a number of board members changed for 2012. Stepping down are Mary Spivy, Jane Patton, Emma Jean McCormick, Dorothy Cawthorn, Darlene Kelley and Rev. Tony Martin.

Co-chairmen for the coming year will be Larry Shanks, Bill Roberts and Skip Smith. Geri Carey will be the new recording secretary. Beth Vitale will be the chairman of the drivers, and Judy Hudson will serve as chairman of the packers.

Janie Bates will continue as finance secretary, and Whitley will keep her duties as treasurer and communications secretary.

Officers took the oath of office from Margaret Whitlock.

Serving as daily chairmen for the packers will be Sharon Burke on Mondays, Dorothy Moore on Tuesdays, Rose Huffmaster on Wednesdays, Peggy Costley on Thursdays and Mary K. Scott on Fridays.

In his comments opening the program, Larry Shanks said enough clients have signed up to re-establish a delivery route to Purdy. Two more drivers will be needed to fill the demand.

Ray Spree was recognized for leading the crew making deliveries to Freistatt. Margie Gripka leads the delivery team for Pierce City.

The annual luncheon provides an occasion to celebrate volunteerism. Melva Gressley spoke on the latest mission trip she and her husband, Darrel, took to Jamaica. The Gressleys have taken 10 mission trips, most to Jamaica. Rather than traveling with a medical and construction team, Melva said the latest group involved a few who work in construction, teachers and musicians.

The group spent two days at Place of Safety, a home for girls ages 7 through 17, an orphanage and a school. Part of the team spent time replacing doors damaged by termites at the hostel where the group stayed. A request to share the group's evening devotions led to an invitation to visit an infirmary.

"I've been on many mission trips," Melva said. "You will receive more blessings than you get. It's more about relationships. My prayer is whatever I do, wherever I go, that I will show God's love to everyone I see."

Appreciation was voiced at the conclusion for the program for Loaves and Fishes head cook Melissa Hammock and her helpers, Norma Washburn and Angel Akin. Shanks said 2012 represents the organization's 39th year.

For the benediction, Alma Villagrana, with the First United Methodist Church, said news stories provide reports about heroes, somebody who did something for someone else.

"Here we have a room of heroes," Villagrana said. "All day you work for many people. It's not just the cooking. They put love into what they do.

"Some days you are home, and it's too hot or too cold and you don't want to leave. You go," continued Villagrana. "You bring the clients care and love. They are waiting for you every day. Thank you very much for your work."

For more information about Loaves and Fishes, call 235-5723.

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