The church and its congregation will celebrate that milestone at the end of October.
But what a difference a year can make.
The food programs that help so many of those in need throughout Union County started with a few families asking the driver of a church van if there was any way The Potters House could help feed their children.
Since that first food distribution event in October, however, the programs have grown to serve more than 600 families — equating to well over 1,000 people — each month.
The food distribution event on Saturday, July 24, was no different.
“We served in the neighborhood of 600 or so families this past month,” said Pastor Don Moore. “It went well.”
The church again gave away pallets of food, from chicken to canned vegetables and other nonperishable items. Moore said he and the church were pleased with the amount of food they could distribute in July. They were expecting the large turnout again last month and after the food programs were essentially cleaned out in June it wasn’t clear if they would have enough.
But as the numbers of those the church serves through its programs have grown, so, too, have they.
The church is now officially a part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program through the state of South Carolina. The Potters House now can receive free food through that program it then can give to those in need around the county.
“It will help us get stuff we couldn’t previously get,” Moore said.
That includes cases of canned goods and pallets of others. The program also gives the church the benefit of knowing exactly what it’s getting each time volunteers go to pick it up.
The program helped in July.
Moore said the church gave away quite a bit of food last month.
“We really had a lot of food,” he said. “We had all kinds of stuff. We were really, really blessed.”
The EFAP status also allows the church to have even more food and nonperishable items to give away by combining its resources with the others the church is already benefitting from, including the Second Harvest program and all the donations it receives — in the form of funds and food — the generous people of Union County give.
That growth has led the church to take the next step in its mission program — adding another food distribution event each month.
Instead of just one distribution event each month, The Potters House will begin to offer two distribution days every month beginning in August.
The first distribution event this month will be held Saturday, Aug. 14, and the second will be on Saturday, Aug. 28. New registrations for people who have not previously received food from the program will be taken the morning of each distribution day and food will be distributed from 9 a.m.-noon on both Saturdays.
Adding a second distribution day each month has been a goal for The Potters House since day one of starting its food programs, according to Moore.
“We just didn’t know when we would be able to do it,” he said.
The addition of the second distribution day furthers the church’s mission of helping those in need of food assistance.
“Families will be able to get something twice a month now instead of just once,” Moore said, adding the second distribution day also will allow the church to serve even more people who are in need of assistance.
And that’s the key.
To help as many as possible.
Especially in an uncertain economic atmosphere and so many people who need a hand.
There’s not a day that goes by someone doesn’t call Moore or the church asking about the food programs and/or what they need to do to get registered. The church signed up 40 new families at its July distribution event.
With the programs’ growth and more opportunities to receive food from outside agencies and continued donations, the church is continuing to do what it originally set out to do last October when the programs began.
To Moore and the volunteers who help with the food programs, it’s all about getting the food to the people who need it. Having the ability to give out more food now is a blessing.
“We’re all very excited about the growth of the programs,” the pastor said. “Not only that, but also being able to help people more than once a month.”
The church is currently giving away all it has to those in need but Moore said people need more and there are more people to serve.
That’s the church’s mission.
“If we’ve got something, we want to give it to them,” the pastor said.