LUBBOCK—When people think of Lubbock, they think of unending cotton fields, hearty dust storms, flat plains and Texas Tech football. Few think of people like Cheryl Tannery.
Tannery, who raised three boys as a single mom, is just one of thousands of people in the Lubbock area who have been stricken by poverty and experienced hunger firsthand. But Mission Lubbock has stepped in to help rebuild the lives of people in need by providing food, clothing and furniture and showing hope that only can come from Christ.
“People just need to understand that there are people going to bed at night without food,” said Judy Cooper, director of Mission Lubbock and multihousing coordinator for the Lubbock Area Baptist Association.
“There are children who are leaving school on Friday and not having another meal until Monday when they get back to school. We are trying to help make a difference in that.”
When Cooper started Mission Lubbock two years ago, her focus was to provide clothing and other household items. Soon she found there was a greater need—food.
“We realized that so many of the people we were trying to minister to had nothing,” Cooper said. “We had to meet the need that they had before they would ever listen to what we had to share about Jesus and how God has worked in our lives.”
That is exactly how Mission Lubbock helped Tannery, who came to the ministry in October looking for food. Meeting Tannery’s immediate needs provided Cooper and the other volunteers an open door to love, encourage and pray for her.
“I came in, and I asked if they were hiring,” Tannery said. “They said ‘no,’ but they needed volunteers. I said I’ll be back, and I’ve been working with them ever since. They have been real good to me. They are some good people.”
Tannery, who cleans homes for a living, said the volunteers and ministry of Mission Lubbock made such an impact on her life that she now volunteers her time the two days a week the ministry is open.
“They are like my second family,” Tannery said. They are about “helping the people and doing God’s work. It has changed my life a whole lot.”
In the last year, Mission Lubbock distributed 556 food boxes and assisted more than 1,000 families.
“I feel certain that we will surpass that this year with still being open just two days a week,” Cooper said. “We would like to extend our hours, but we have got to find some funding.”
Cooper said nearly 60 percent of children in the Lubbock Independent School District are considered impoverished and are on the free- or reduced- lunch program.
“Lubbock does have quite a bit of poverty,” Cooper said. “The deal is they are the working poor. They have jobs. They just don’t get paid enough to make ends meet.”
For 2008, Mission Lubbock was chosen to receive funds from the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger. These funds, as well as donations from individuals and churches, will allow Mission Lubbock to provide food boxes to people in need.
“We just don’t have near enough donations,” said Billie Downing, one of the volunteers who helps run the ministry. “To know we have a fund there—it’s something you can rely on. It’s so nice when people have a need to be able to do more than say, ‘I’ll pray for you.’ And that’s a wonderful thing in God’s economy.”
The Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger supports about 100 ministries around the world by supplying temporary relief for people in need, addressing the causes of hunger and poverty and providing hunger relief and development to children.
For more information, visit www.bgct.org/worldhunger.