Every morning people start to gather at the door of the fellowship center at a small church on the outskirts of a small fishing town on the Alabama Gulf coast. Inside Billy Spaulding is scrambling eggs, making gravy, and other breakfast treats. Soon the doors open and a few volunteers, church members down on their luck, the homeless and helpless are welcomed and fed.
My wife Carol and I were there on a Monday morning and not long after most of the people had their fill of breakfast, volunteers took their stations and people started to line up outside for the bi-weekly food distribution. Each of those families represented left soon with a rather large cardboard box full of various food items. Twice each week meals are given to anyone with a photo ID and income verification. Brother Billy reported that somewhere over 1,ooo people receive food each month.
Since soon after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Billy Spaulding, Daphne German, Bro’ Roosevelt, and several other volunteers have loved the impoverished people of Bayou La Batre in every way imaginable. Volunteer groups from all over America have come to the bayou to help the Bayou Recovery Project (also run by Spaulding and German) repair homes, clean up debris, deliver donated appliances, food, and clothing. If my memory is correct it must be way over 500 houses that have been either repaired or completely redone FREE!
It has now been over 7 years and they are still doing the impossible solely by faith! Billy told me they had run out of money last week but he seemed undaunted as usual. He said “It happens all the time but just when we’re out of money some checks will come in from some place and we just keep on rolling. It’s all good!” Never have I met a Christian man any more positive and full of faith and optimism!
In addition to their benevolent work they also tutor children each week so they can make it in school. Most of the children have little support at home so they get help at the church as volunteers sit with the children and carefully help them learn the school materials.
One Sunday morning while “Mr Billy” is busy making breakfast 3 volunteers man three vans and off they go to soon return with dozens of smiling, excited, hungry children of all ages. Even on Wednesday night they will have well over 50 children at church. They feed them a good meal and teach them about Jesus. This little church with no regular preacher, no elders or deacons, and no budget, manages to do all this mountain of work, pay utilities, insurance on their buildings and vehicles, and other costs associated with running a busy church and recovery ministry, and they baptize several people each year.
Several churches across the country have been very helpful. Presently the El Campo Church of Christ from Texas, The Port City Church of Christ, from Mobile, and the Gateway church of Christ from Pensacola, Fla are helping them in amazing ways. We were able to bring about 300 winter coats and several pairs of new shoes mostly from the Heart to Home ladies of the Whites Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, Louisiana.
Oh, I forgot to mention, they provide Christmas presents for the kids of the community too, including new bicycles for many of them. The children work hard doing service work, memorizing scripture passages, and whatever else Ms. Daphne assigns them so they can qualify to go to church camp in the summer. How they do all they do makes my head spin, and they do it with such love, such care and concern, and with such determination.
Before the year’s end, why don’t you consider offering some help to this worthy cause? Visit their Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hemley-Road-Church-of-Christ/126220237438941) and send a message of encouragement. To donate you can send a check to:
Hemley Road Church of Christ
8270 Hemley Road
Bayou La Batre, Alabama 36509
Thanks for reading and for your consideration.