Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food Ministry - Guest Post

As some of you know, we have a weekend food ministry that we've been doing for a couple of years now.  We got started with this ministry with Bull City Outreach Ministries.  Terry graciously allowed us to take part in his food pick ups and we were able to offer the same type of ministry in Southern Granville County that he was offering through his ministry in Durham.  After his food pick ups were cut off, we were able to make contact with a grocery store in our area.  Now every weekend we get food pick ups from this local grocery store.  We sort, clean, separate, organize and distribute this food into boxes for families in the area that need help.  We try and find families that are struggling for a season and are not already getting governmental assistance.  We also use this as an evangelism tool.

We have been helping one local family for a little over a year now.  Here is their story:


Hi readers.  I wanted to take a moment to share my story.  

This has been the most challenging year and a half of my life.  I was injured while helping my boss of 15 years, as he neared the end of his battle with cancer, and his 6'3' size was no match for me.  I thought I'd pulled my back and knees.  At the time, I was working at a newspaper for a decade and a half, while teaching Zumba classes 3 nights a week.  I continued trying to teach with braces on my knees and back.  Then it became crutches.  Then subs.  Then I gave up my business and the joy of my life that I'd worked so hard for, as I could no longer barely stand.  

I went from one sports orthopaedic surgeon to another.  By the time I reached my 3rd opinion, I'd already had two normal MRIs and undergone 3 mos of PT, both in the pool and gym, without progress.  My right knee swelled a week after my boss fell on me.  I didn't think to file workman's comp since his family was now dealing with him in hospice, and didn't want to cause further stress.  Plus, what's $50 copay for a one time deal when I'll just take ibuprofen and get on the heating pad and be better in a week?  Well, I never thought it would turn into something much much bigger.  So, by my second $1000 MRI and PT 3x's a week at $50 a pop, still puzzling orthos, rheumatologists and internists, I informed my deceased boss's wife I was filing workman's comp  since I couldn't afford the financial burden any longer.  She then fired me.  

Rich was already on unemployment after losing his job, and benefits ran out.  We were without an income for 5 months and me and my two girls were going hungry and when Rich's son with Downs visited, he eats like any other teenage boy and we would go without..  We fell between the cracks of not qualifying for any aid, including Obamacare.  I felt so helpless that I was still on crutches 8 mos after the injury, no resolution on a diagnosis, and no way to work.  

Shortly after being fired, my mother got sick and passed away a month later at 68.  She was in the ICU for a little over a month and had arrested and been resuscitated twice.  I found out she was hanging on with the hopes of making it to her two year date of life insurance becoming payable to leave me something.  She died 3 weeks before it had reached it's date after I gave her permission to go home and that I couldn't bear to watch her suffer and we'd be okay.  She passed 24 hrs later.  I wasn't prepared for the profound loss.  It consumed me.

No child support, no job, no income, no mobility; and two children to feed, I was anything but okay, as I had reassured my dying mother with a smile of confidence before bolting out of the ICU to cry..  

Finally my 3rd opinion doc diagnosed me. I was shocked.  Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) was the verdict.  Most people are not aware of this monster, but it is more common than MS and affects children, women and men alike.  It is the MOST painful disease of the medical profession's McGill Pain Scale, ranking more painful than natural child birth or cancer of amputation minus anesthetics.  I was beyond shocked.  I was angry and depressed. How could this happen?  Why me?  Would I end up having a leg amputation like the admin of the RSD website?  Or end up in a wheelchair for life like the 14 yr old on 20/20 and CNN?  This disease naturally also has the highest suicide rate because who can stand 24/7 unbearable pain?  My children have given me a reason to fight, although I'm bed bound now 90% of the time. This once active gardener, world traveler, scuba diver, baker, zumba and dance lover now has almost no quality of life.  

I met Melissa in my classes.  I then found out she had a ministry.  I was always the giver, the volunteer, the rescuer.  Now I had to swallow my pride for the sake of my children and reach out to her for help.  Her and Dean came to our aid.  I am now waiting for disability, after my first denial and appeal, and expect to have at least one more, followed by a judge ruling.  It could be another year or two or more.  Rich has finally found work 3 days a week, but we're so in debt after being without income for over 5 months that it may take us a year or two to pay off the credit we lived off.  My compressor blew and we've been without heat or AC the whole winter.  Now it's getting hot.  But we don't have the money to fix it since credit cards are maxed out.  Who ever thought the small gesture of helping a man walk to his car would turn into a lifetime of pain?  I'm so grateful for Melissa and Dean's help.  My children are fed, and that's one less thing to worry about in what seems to be an avalanche of trials.  They have delivered food to our home when we couldn't make it there.  We live off of what they provide and I'm in tears as I write this, thinking of the days when my children complained that there wasn't anything to eat.  I will be forever grateful that at least tummies are full!!!  We have come to know and love their family and I just can't say enough about what they've done for ours. 

 Thanks for reading my little saga (lol while crying).  

For more information on RSD, visit: (video on YouTube of the 14 yr old) or see
Jill, Rich, Erin, Ivy, and Mason <3


There are many other families in our area that have been helped by this aspect of the ministry.  I wish I could share all of their stories. 

Two members of our ministry, Marcia Rowland and Jean Nine, handle the Sunday pick ups and distributions.  I know for certain that they help between 5-10 families every Sunday.  These ladies are essential to our ministry and expand the window of opportunity with all the people that they know.

If you feel led to help with the food ministry in any way, please let us know!  We can always use food donations, grocery store gift cards (for families that need specific items that we do not receive), and gas station gift cards (for the weekly pick ups and deliveries). 

Thank you, as always, for praying for us.  Please keep this portion of our ministry in your prayers as well.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


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