Meridian Star

September 8, 2013

Building by faith


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Washing her hands after serving yet another meal, Peggy Coleman is ready to meet up with three of her board members to drive the short distance from the Worship Center Church located at 4000 Fifth Street to the cleaned off, empty lot that will soon to be the new home for Feed By Faith.

    Coleman, along with Pearline Burdette, Elaine Phillips, and Brenda Jefcoat, meet at the lot just south of the S curve at 34th Avenue and Fifth Street. A pile of trees and brush have been pushed to one side of the lot and there are stakes in the ground outlining what will be the 2,400 square foot building.

    "This is so exciting," Coleman says as she gazes across the lot. "Soon we will be here serving those who need a good hot meal. We are blessed."

    When the Montana Restaurant closed down on Front Street several years ago in preparation to be demolished, Coleman wept.

    Coleman, the founder and driving force behind Feed by Faith, a nonprofit organization that feeds the needy meals three days a week, could see her mission to feed the masses crumble along with the old restaurant. She, and many of her volunteers, wondered what would become of Feed by Faith and the thousands of mouths they filled with home cooked meals. Since the old restaurant's demise, Feed By Faith has made do in the basement of the old church on Fifth Street. Years of asking for, and getting donations from the generous people of Meridian has evolved into the lot and soon to be building that will begin construction in the next several weeks.

    "We are ready to break ground and get the foundation started," Jefcoat says, still wearing her apron after helping to serve meals Friday. "We are in the process of getting the blueprints finalized and securing the building permits needed. We are almost there."

    A little more than a year ago, 1.2 acres of land was donated to Feed by Faith by a church congregation in Atlanta.

    Serving three days a week, Feed by Faith handed out almost 26,000 meals in 2012. The kitchen is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On average, Burdette said, 150 people receive hot, home cooked meals each day the kitchen is open.

    Coleman says it is imperative the building get up and ready to serve meals soon because the old church they are currently using is up for sale.

    "We can't stay there much longer so we better get this building up quickly," Coleman says.

    Feed By Faith gets much of its food from the Feed America Distribution Center, a clearing house for donated foods to charities such as Feed By Faith. Locally, Coleman says Feed By Faith is blessed to have regular donations from such retail giants as Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, Henderson Steel, and churches such as Lauderdale United Methodist Church and Northcrest Baptist Church. Feed By Faith also receives some funding from the United Way of East Mississippi.

    "I'm just overjoyed at the help we have received all these years and I believe God will provide for us when we move into this new building," Coleman says.

    In addition to having a massive kitchen and eating area, Coleman says the building will feature better parking, roll up doors in the back to receive food and donations, and a later planned 1,600 square foot addition that will drastically increase the storage capacity of the building.