LIFE Min­istries Cel­e­brates 25 Years Of Help­ing Oth­ers

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

PRAIRIE GROVE — LIFE Min­istries will rec­og­nize 25 years of help­ing in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in the area with a cel­e­bra­tion from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Satur­day, Oct. 27, at its fa­cil­ity at 881 Stills Road.

The pub­lic is in­vited to stop by for hot dogs, chips and drinks. Staff will be on hand to help an­swer any ques­tions about ser­vices pro­vided by the min­istry or other ser­vices avail­able to those in need.

LIFE Min­istries is a faith­based, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides as­sis­tance to fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing in western and south­ern Wash­ing­ton County. Sup­ported by many churches in town, LIFE stands for “Link­ing In­di­vid­u­als For Essen­tials.”

The min­istry op­er­ates a re­sale shop or thrift store from half of its build­ing and uses the other half to meet with clients who are re­quest­ing as­sis­tance with food, cloth­ing, util­ity bills and pre­scrip­tion costs. Pro­ceeds from the re­sale store are used to help those who need as­sis­tance.

In the past 18 years, LIFE Min­istries has given back more than $1.4 mil­lion to the com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing area by pro­vid­ing food and clothes to those who need it and help­ing to pay es­sen­tial liv­ing costs.

For 2017, the min­istry gave out food to about 5,000 in­di­vid­u­als and pro­vided as­sis­tance for qual­i­fy­ing in­di­vid­u­als val­ued at $151,000.

In all last year, LIFE Min­istries helped 1,800 fam­i­lies in the area, in­clud­ing the com­mu­ni­ties of Prairie Grove, Lin­coln, Farm­ing­ton, West Fork, Winslow, Green­land, Sum­mers, Evansville, Cane Hill, Mor­row and Dutch Mills.

What makes LIFE Min­istries unique com­pared to many sim­i­lar or­ga­ni­za­tions is that every­one, from the direc­tor down, is a vol­un­teer. No one re­ceives a salary or stipend. In 2017, about 93 vol­un­teers do­nated more than 18,000 hours, ei­ther help­ing in the re­sale store or in the of­fice next door.

Betty Hile­man, her hus­band and daugh­ter vol­un­teer with LIFE Min­istry, and she said that’s one thing she likes about the or­ga­ni­za­tion: every­one is a vol­un­teer.

“It all goes back into the min­istry,” Hile­man said. “That’s what I love about it.”

The min­istry also gave a way for her daugh­ter to be in­volved in some­thing, Hile­man said.

“My daugh­ter needed a place to be­long. She can hang up clothes here so this gave her a place to be.”

Pat Lyle of Prairie Grove has been vol­un­teer­ing for the or­ga­ni­za­tion for more than 10 years and said she views LIFE Min­istries as a mis­sion that is fill­ing a need in the com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing area.

“Every town ought to have a LIFE Min­istries,” Lyle said. “I had no idea it would grow like this.”

An­other vol­un­teer, Sarah Wright of Lin­coln, said she is the one who is blessed by the min­istry.

“I feel blessed by know­ing their needs are be­ing met.”

Mary Jane Franks has vol­un­teered for 25 years and she said she has been able to meet many peo­ple through LIFE Min­istries who were down on their luck, burned out or just need­ing some help to get back on their feet.

“It’s just a good feel­ing when you help peo­ple,” Franks said.

Many peo­ple shop reg­u­larly at the re­sale store.

Stephanie Ei­land of Elkins said she shops at the store be­cause of “good deals” and to help the com­mu­nity.

Tam­era Far­quhar­son of Prairie Grove had Hal­loween cos­tumes, jack­ets and other items in her cart to pur­chase one day. She has five chil­dren and said she comes into the store at least once a week look­ing for bar­gains.

“We’re here be­cause it’s cheap and I love it,” Far­quhar­son said.

LIFE Min­istries started with $500 25 years ago. It is gov­erned by a board of di­rec­tors. Cindy Dobbs cur­rently chairs the board and Keith Bos­tian is vice chair­man. The min­istry is sup­ported by churches in Prairie Grove, along with dona­tions of clothes, food, cash and many other items that come in through­out the year.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion al­ways needs vol­un­teers or items in good con­di­tion do­nated to the re­sale shop. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon on Tues­days and Thurs­days and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Satur­days. Web­site: lifem­i­nistries­nwa.org.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Mary Jane Franks, left, Betty Hile­man, Pat Lyle and Brenda Mathis are vol­un­teers for LIFE Min­istries in Prairie Grove. Every­one who helps with the min­istry, from the direc­tor down, vol­un­teers their time. LIFE Min­istries is cel­e­brat­ing its 25th an­niver­sary.

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