Haven of Mercy low on food

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 4, 2019 at 10:11 PM

The March fire that destroyed the Haven of Mercy Thrift Store and an unusual summer peak in the number of men and women lodged at the Haven’s shelters have significantly impacted the ministries’ feeding programs for the community’s poor.

“We’re having trouble getting meat and vegetables because of the demand,” Haven of Mercy Pastor and CEO Grant Rockley said Wednesday.

While the loss of the thrift store, which provided about 60 percent of the Haven’s revenue, has contributed to the shortage, Rockley said the bigger problem has been the high number of residents at the Haven’s men’s and women’s shelters.

“We’re overloaded here and at the women’s shelter,” he said. “We’re full, which is strange for this time of year. Everyone who is here eats with us three meals a day. We’ve been cutting back on our (public) feeding to alternate nights the last few weeks to conserve.

“And then there’s the food boxes. ... We usually get at least 20 requests for food boxes a day and there’s not much we can do about it.”

For those who would like to help, Rockley repeated, “It’s meat and vegetables that we need. We feed well. It’s not soup and crackers.”

On Wednesday night, the Haven’s dining room was open to the public and prepared to serve dinner to up to 100 people, including about 60 people from its shelters. The dinner included barbecue chicken thighs, green beans and potatoes, stuffing and bread.

Donations of food are welcomed at the Haven at 123 W. Millard St. seven days a week. Monetary donations may be made by mail to Haven of Mercy Ministries, P.O. Box 5490, Johnson City, TN 37602-5490. More information about how to help may be obtained by calling 423-929-0616.

In an update on the thrift store, Rockley said the building has been demolished down to the concrete pad where the ministry is now looking to rebuild.

“It’s a great location. There’s a lot of traffic. And people look for us there,” Rockley said.

In the meantime, the Haven is continuing its thrift store sales of good used clothing and household items from the store’s parking lot. And also in the interim, Rockely said, “We want to thank all the people who have supported us. We have been really loved.” 

“We’ve been here 50 years. We get no government funding or grants. Because we are a Christian ministry we run solely off private donations ... and the thrift store, that is for folks who don’t have money to give us but they have goods that we can turn into a dollar.”

More information about the Haven of Mercy and how to help is available online at havenofmercy.net or may be obtained by calling 423-929-0616.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, slegg@johnsoncitypress.com or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.







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