By Mike Steely
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are busy in the old building. On each of those days, 25 or so families file in to receive everything from diapers and canned food to clothing, dishes, and just about anything it takes to set up a household. Those attending include grandparents, parents, children and other family members.
One family at a time gets a shopping cart and a volunteer who takes them along the “narrow road” into the complex, which is filled with needed items displayed by category.
Angelic Ministries, in the former Merita Bread plant at 1218 North Central Street, serves destitute families that are trying to start over. The families helped include recently homeless, abandoned and battered women and children, burned out families and the like and must be approved and referred by local churches, ministries, or city and county organizations.
The building outside retains the iconic Merita Bread billboard atop the structure with “Angelic Ministries” below former occupant’s name.
Angelic Ministry’s mission is to supply basic needs and spread the words of Jesus, ministering to the families that are in need.
The idea of such a free sharing of goods came to Betsy Stowers Frazier who founded the ministry in back in 2002.
Rev. Tony Earl is the Executive Director and took The Focus on a tour of the facility last week. The two-story building was busy with volunteers in the various departments; some volunteers were men who came out of homelessness. The ministry operates several homes for these men who are trained and mentored in a caring environment.
Earl explained that they also have many volunteers from the community including doctors, contractors, engineers and many others.
Mrs. Frazier remains the spirit behind Angelic Ministries and was working in the crafts office Tuesday, decorating standard walking canes with jewels and ornamentation before sending them to Knox Rail Salvage where her husband, Mike Frazier, will sell them. The canes also go to various other outlets, all with the idea of raising needed funds.
Of the families that come to the ministry, Mrs. Frazier said, “They come in here broken” and receive what they need to begin again.
She explained that God led her to open the ministry and that her husband bought the building, at first using the bottom floor for storage. Soon the needs of the people took that space as well and she said that “God is so sweet to show off for us.”
Mrs. Frazier said that when they need something, they pray about it.
“We were praying for towels one day and a knock came to our door. We received six bags of towels,” she said.
“Life has been so much fun,” she said since starting the ministry. “It has been an awesome walk and the best years of my life.”
Angelic Ministries is always in need of items and donations and have certain items needed now, including towels, wash cloths, children’s and men’s underwear, shampoo and hygiene items, and Christians to come in to help and pray with the families.
Earl says they are in a real need for a large truck that’s tall enough to back up to the dock and unload items.
“We’re very frugal and lean. We operate a million dollar ministry on a one-third million budget each year,” he said.
The ministry is currently stocking a storage room with items for their “Christmas Mall” that will be held December 16 and 17. Toys are coming in from Target, Walmart and other stores, and bicycles are being repaired for the event.
Donations are received Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 until 11:30 a.m. The ministry can pick up a large amount of donated items. All donations are tax deductible and volunteers are urged to call the Volunteer Coordinator at (865)523-8884.
You can find Angelic Ministries online at www.angelicministries.com and on Facebook.
“We spread the Bread of Life in the old bread company,” Mrs. Frazier said.