According to the US last census, Bell County had a poverty rate of about 13.8%, which was considerably higher than the national average of 10.5%. Even worse, while the United States Department of Agriculture calculated the national rate of food insecure homes was 10.5 in 2019, Feeding Texas ™ currently reports that in Bell County, the percent of food insecure homes is at an alarming 21%, double that of the national average. Combating food insecurity during the midst of a global pandemic that has crippled economies and impeded many individuals from obtaining necessities has further complicated. We are only months removed from witnessing the highest unemployment rate the United States has ever seen at 14.7% and although that number has fell in recent months, we are now looking at the worst inflation rate the nation has seen in decades. The loss of wages that our communities are currently experiencing, coupled with global supply shortages and all the preexisting factors of poverty and food insecurity, has only increased the need for help from those that we serve. The success of the Feed My Sheep program will see the effects of poverty and food insecurity alleviated, while also serving as a model that can be reproduced on a national stage.
The Feed My Sheep Program epitomizes the spirit in which Deliverance Ministries, Household of Faith, Church of the Living God, Inc. operates in. The program stands to serve people of all different ethnicities, ages, genders, socioeconomic classes, religions, political persuasions, nationalities, races, and identifications. Fellowship with our ministry is not a requirement for one to benefit from our program. Using our onsite garden and henhouse, we cultivate healthy vegetables, fruits, and eggs. In addition to our homegrown food products, we accumulate other food products through community partners, such as restaurants and food chains. While we are accumulating food, we are simultaneously accumulating other necessities such as clothes, appliances, and tools through various vendors. After acquiring an adequate amount of food and goods, we then donate these items to the poor and needy at our pantry. The pantry is conducted at our onsite commercial kitchen so, that in addition to donating free food and goods, we can also serve our constituents hot and ready meals for those who have no means nor appliances to prepare the food themselves, such as homeless and displaced persons. The program is unique in that it serves as both a producer and direct distributer of food to the less fortunate, making available a safe place for deprived persons to safely eat a good meal, all while also offering other essential goods that ease their financial burdens. Our goals are to put food, clothing, and necessities in the hands of those that need them the most and to be able to aid local food banks, food kitchens, shelters, and other places of help in the fight against food insecurity and poverty. In addition to distributing clothing and other essential goods, our plan is to distribute at least 10,020 lbs. of food per year, so that a minimum of 167 people can each receive 5 pounds of food every month of the year. We look forward to this number being just like a seed, and over time, blossoming into an even larger number so that those we serve can not only be provided with necessities of life, but so that also have a reason to smile and a warmed heart to go with it.