Reach of Huxley Helping Hands ministry extends across Shelby County
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Jan. 23 print edition of The Light and Champion.)
Huxley Helping Hands is a non-profit agency that distributes about 5,000 pounds of food each month to residents of Shelby County who qualify under state low income guidelines.
The non-profit agency was formed in 2012 by a small group at the Lydia Missionary Baptist Church in Huxley.
Jessica Kay, who is in charge of the compliance with the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler and monthly food orders, said the non-profit agency came together over a bible study.
“Some of the young couples did a bible study called, ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan,” said Kay. “When we got through with that study, we felt like we wanted to find a way to show Christ’s love in our community in a practical way. We decided that a food pantry would be a good way to do both.”
Huxley Helping Hands volunteer, Yvonne O’Rear, said that after seeing the young adults in their church start up the non-profit organization, “us older folks just started to help!”
The organization uses all of their budget on food. With no kind of fundraisers or events to raise money for the food pantry, Huxley Helping Hands is supported financially by two main churches; the Ephesus church and Smyrna church.
The organization is also operated strictly by volunteers; ‘We are all volunteers, nobody gets paid anything,” said Kay.
“We have so many people that come and help and work and get dirty with all the produce. Semi- trucks unload pallets of food at the church, we go through about 5,000 pounds of produce a month - Without all of our volunteers, it wouldn’t be easy.”
O'Rear said the organization is dependent upon its volunteers.
“Some days, not everyone can make it. Usually it’s my husband and myself, our bookkeeper Paula Kay and her husband Buddy and Jessica Kay who does our food orders,” she said. “But most of the time we do have a big group turnout and help.”
Setting up their produce like a grocery store, Huxley Helping Hands holds their food drives once a month, where they give out about 150 boxes of food. Each month, 120 homes are served but the number tends to increase during the holidays. The Huxley Helping Hands food drives are held monthly at Hillcrest Baptist Church at 901 Southview Circle.
“Volunteers are the heart of this agency,” said Kay. “Without the people who care and are willing to work for free; there would not be a pantry. We operate and set up everything like a store. Corn with corn, beans with beans. That way - everyone that comes through can pick one of everything they like.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about Huxley Helping Hands or looking for a way to get involved and give back to the community, you can contact Jessica Kay at (936) 572 - 3463.