Son-Light Center in Jemison will partner with Feed the ChildrenBy Emily Etheredge Published 3:51pm Monday, February 25, 2013
Son-Light Center owner Betty Oldroyd and her staff have a mission to serve, bless and love.
Now in their eighth year of providing non-perishable food to those in need, the center will partner with “Feed the Children” in March.
Feed the Children was founded in 1979 and partners with more than 1,200 local agencies, including food pantries, churches and soup kitchens to distribute meals and necessities to more than 400,000 families nationwide.
“We will be able to provide two tractor/trailer loads of food each month to help feed more than 1,200 families,” Oldroyd said.
The center, located on Bibb Street in Jemison, feeds families from Chilton, Dallas, Marengo, Perry and Wilcox counties.
Oldroyd said the partnership is a blessing for the center due to many who apply to partner with Feed the Children waiting more than 12 weeks to hear whether the partnership was accepted.
“I applied to partner with them knowing what needs we have and I heard back from them in one week,” Oldroyd said. “It was wonderful. This will increase our ability to hand out more food to those in need.”
Oldroyd and her staff along with volunteers will travel to Nashville twice a month to pick up the food. In addition to non-perishable food items, Feed the Children will also donate school supplies and toiletries.
Oldroyd first opened the Son-Light Center eight years ago as she provided for 10 families who were in need of food.
Now, the center averages more than 650 families a week with more than 100 of them from Chilton County.
Son-Light opens for business every Saturday with a church service at 9 a.m. and food distribution at 10 a.m.
Oldroyd and volunteers travel throughout the week to high poverty counties of Wilcox and Perry and distribute food from the center.
“These counties in Alabama have people who are starving,” Oldroyd said. “A lot of the people who live in these areas don’t have electricity or running water and they are thrilled to receive a loaf of bread.”
Son-Light’s ministry is showing love to those who are in need by handing out food to families throughout Alabama donated to the center.
Oldroyd and Son-Light Center spokesman Wayne Cole recognize many living in Alabama do not realize the need families face on a daily basis for food.
“When you arrive in Wilcox or Perry County you see children who have not eaten in days,” Oldroyd said. “We park our truck and will sometimes have families standing in line for more than two hours to receive a loaf of bread to feed their children.”
Cole said a diverse group of people comes to the center in Jemison each Saturday ranging from elderly on fixed incomes, single mothers with two and three children and unemployed or employed who don’t qualify for state assistance.
“We don’t ask questions,” Cole said. “We are here to love one another.”
Cole said the main need the center currently faces is the lack of volunteers throughout the week to help keep the center running.
In addition to unloading and loading food on trucks the center owns, Cole said local church involvement in leading worship services on Saturday mornings is a recurring need with only three churches currently volunteering.
Oldroyd said another major need is volunteers who are willing to drive to Nashville twice a month when the center starts partnering with Feed the Children.
“We are going to be receiving 22-24 pallets of food once we start partnering with the organization, and it would be nice to have extra hands to help us in transporting the food,” Oldroyd said.
Volunteers are needed to minister and serve those in need when trucks are distributed to Dallas, Marengo, Perry and Wilcox counties.
Although few families require assistance from Chilton County, those at the center consider that a blessing.
“The less we have in need means the less that are hungry,” Cole said. “We hope to one day not have anyone requiring our assistance because that means less people are hungry.”
For more information about the center, call (205) 688-2368.