20 years of HOPE Food and Clothing Ministry
By Basil Gist
In an area flush with food banks, HOPE Food and Clothing Ministry in Aubrey adds a touch of fellowship to the mix.
Teri Farmer and her team of volunteers offer meal boxes and clothing to families in need once a month and have been doing so for 20 years as of July 16.
“People come in, they get food and we give them ministry,” Farmer said. “We get the opportunity to meet them and to pray with them.”
Neighboring the Aubrey Middle School and hard to miss along Sherman Drive, HOPE’s parking lot is ringed with vehicles on the third Saturday of every month.
“We haven’t missed a distribution in 20 years; it’s been pretty slim pickings from time to time, but now we’re doing pretty good,” volunteer Alex Pantazis said. “We’re helping more and more people, so that’s our goal.”
Assistance from fellow food banks, Shepherd's Storehouse and the Little Elm Food Bank, as well as regular produce donations from Decatur Farms, help keep those scanter times to a minimum.
“If [Luther] has overage or we have overage, we share, same thing with Little Elm Food Bank,” Farmer said. “We’ve never been without food, sometimes the money has been a bit tight, but we live off of food drives and donations.”
Though the bulk of HOPE’s service happens in the parking lot, they also make a monthly run to individuals in need who can’t get out. This run takes them all throughout the Ranch Cities and as far out as Sanger.
Farmer’s service to the people of Aubrey and its neighbors has not gone unnoticed by the city. In celebration of 20 years, the city’s mayor and members of council were in attendance to recognize and honor Farmer. Moving forward, by proclamation of Mayor Chris Rich, July 16 will be Teri Farmer Day in Aubrey.
“There’s nobody above anybody else, it’s just work,” Farmer said.
Often however, the work is split between too few. The most frequent problem, Farmer explained, was not a lack of food, but a lack of hands.
“We desperately need help up front,” Farmer said. “It’s work, but the blessings outweigh.”
Between being an outlet for community service, be it school or court mandated, and an opportunity to serve others, the people at HOPE look to draw in volunteers of all types.
“We’re open to high schoolers and even middle schoolers as long as they don’t need constant supervision,” Pantazis said. “[But] it’s not something where you just come punch a clock, get your hours and go home; we care about you and want to get to know you as a person.”
With the holiday season making its way back around, HOPE will be looking for members of the community struck by the spirit of service.
“We need a lot of volunteers all the time, but during the holiday season we serve a lot of people and need a lot of help,” volunteer Steven Crawford said. “It’s all about the heart and all about desire; we’ll do what it takes to help people.”