Feeding the Community: ALARM Ministries

Feeding the Community: ALARM Ministries
Posted at 6:00 PM, Oct 21, 2015
and last updated 2017-05-30 06:53:01-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Second Harvest says one in six people in the Big Bend are food insecure. For kids, it's one in every four.

The agency is helping to feed the community through area partners and organizations that hand out food to the hungry.

WTXL ABC 27's Kellie Bartoli headed to ALARM Ministries in Tallahassee to see how they're called to serve.

"There are people out there that are going hungry. In this day and age in America, and in our state, there are people who just don't have enough." 

So this 18-year old ministry sounded the alarm.

Five years ago, the church partnered with Second Harvest of the Big Bend and opened a food pantry.

Since then, ALARM Ministries Volunteer Coordinator Heidi Otway says they've served about 5,000 people from Leon, Gadsden and even Liberty Counties. 

"It's a joyous thing. We are happy to serve." said Otway. "I wish I could give more!" 

ALARM Ministries stocks its shelves with groceries bought in bulk from Second Harvest. Each month, between 100 and 125 households walk away with three to four bags of food.

"Doing this ministry is like my greatest joy and my greatest pain," said Otway. "The joy is that we can help serve these families. The pain is that the people need it. It can happen to anybody at any time... where the end don't meet and you're like what do I do? And that's why were here. We're here to help families who can't make ends meet for whatever reason. It could be a one-time experience or it could be over a couple of months. We're here to give, we're here to serve, we're here to fill that gap as best as we can."

Come Thanksgiving, ALARM Ministries hands out about 200 turkeys - plus all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal - often for just pennies on the pound.

"Now if you were to go to a grocery store to buy that for a family of four, it would run you what, $50? Well because of our partnership with Second Harvest, it costs $10," Otway explains. 

Otway estimates she and her army of ALARM volunteers have handed out 25,000 pounds of Thanksgiving meals, and she hopes that spirit of giving can last long after the table is cleared.

"Families, coming together and making a meal with food that was provided by someone who cared about them," said Otway. "And that's what we do. We don't judge, we don't ask you why... all we say is 'here.'"

This holiday season, WTXL is once again teaming up with Second Harvest of the Big Bend for the second annual Turkey Drive. It's Thursday, November 19 from 5 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Ponce De Leon Park.

The ALARM Thanksgiving food distribution is Saturday, November 14 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. It's first come, first serve until all the food has been given away. Each person has to complete the forms required by Second Harvest.

For more information, call (850) 216-1800.

You can also follow ALARM Ministries on Facebook.