Feeding one person at a time

Published 11:21 am Friday, October 19, 2012

Doris Eure with Oasis in the Desert Church helps Anthony Johnson of Franklin during his turn in line the Wednesday food ministry. STEPHEN H. COWLES




FRANKLIN—Oasis in the Desert Church is in its fourth year of feeding those in need.

“Times are hard,” said John Turner, a 74-year-old who lives on disability in a trailer park.

Turner was among 100 on a recent Wednesday to accept food during the weekly distribution from the church in the Airway Shopping Center on Carrsville Highway.

The Rev. Bob Byrum has seen people line up to four hours before the 11:30 a.m. distribution. Food is given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Food Lion and Walmart donate the food.

Byrum estimates the church feeds about 1,000 people a month. He said the third and fourth Wednesdays are the busiest. WHY

A handful of members volunteer to arrange the food on tables and in a cooler. For their efforts, Byrum lets them go through the line first.

After quickly making his choices, Anthony Johnson, 47, said he’s been coming to the food ministry for two months. The disabled Franklin resident heard about the program through friends.

Terry Butts, 52, has been getting food at the church for three to four months. The Franklin resident also said friends told her of the ministry.

“This is all for the glory of God,” said Byrum. “There’s no other reason. We pray and He provides. It’s incredible.”

Since the ministry began, Byrum figures around 25,000 individuals — often repeat clients — have come for the food. Byrum estimates 3,000 families over a three-year period.

“Last year we had 1,200 families. Already this year 1,400,” he said. “The numbers get progressively higher. More and more there’s a lack of income and food shortages.”

Oasis in the Desert also offers Christian Karate, a prison Bible college ministry and bible study.

He added that other projects are being seriously considered, such as daycare for children, a women’s shelter and an AA support group.

“These have been laid on our heart,” said Byrum.

For more information, call 663-8797.