Some 99,772 loaves of bread handed out in Lehigh in 2011
Every Friday morning, my husband, Art Butler-Lowrie’s alarm goes off at 3 a.m. That gives him 45 minutes to get awake, and meet the crew from Faith Lutheran Church to ride into Fort Myers and pick up bread for the people in need of Lehigh Acres, and get it back home for distribution by 7 a.m.
Over 2011, close to 100,000 loaves of bread have been given away to those in Lehigh Acres who need bread and cannot afford to buy it.
Faith Lutheran is located at 705 East Leeland Heights Blvd. There is a bread line at Faith Lutheran- people hoping to pick up a couple loaves of bread to feed their families for the week, or on a good day, pick up some sweets for the children.
The early morning crew consists of Chuck Emory, Julian Silva, Luis and Cesar Oquendo, Art Butler-Lowrie, Elizabeth Cruz and D.B. Young. In addition, Dominic Souza, John Banner, Russ Kerrn, Richard Peters, Len Barney, Roger Ashley, and Connie and Brad Schmucer help load on an as-needed basis.
Like a finely tuned machine, the early morning crew who have to be out of the bread warehouse by 6 a.m. delivers the bread back to the church into the waiting hands of the unloading crew.
The unloading crew is made up of: Hil Majszak, Ivy Lewis, Art Butler-Lowrie, D.B.Young, Gloria Harris, Luis and Cesar Oquendo, Elizabeth Cruz, Julian Siva, John Banner, Walter Hamilton, Doris Bollenbach, Rolf Roselle, Gary Doran, Darrel Branham, Shirly Bergman, Dianne Denner, Erma Rink, Frank and Russ Kerrn, Ted Urban, Rosan Wynter, Paul Nystrum, Clyde and Mariam Snyder, Skip Chant, Opal Lee, Pat Grotsky and Harry Ludwig.
“We provide Friday Bread 52 Fridays a year. Bread distribution consists of three activities: 1. Collection from the warehouse. All items received have to be counted and pre-sorted by date with the Church only receiving those items at or near expiration dates. 2. Sorting back at the Church. We separate by types of items-sweets, loaf bread, buns, bagels, and muffins. The number of items in a category will determine how many from each area a family will receive. 3. Distribution: We allow families in to select their items once the tables are ready. This may be as early as 6:45 a.m. to as late as 8 a.m. We now close at 9 a.m.,” said Chuck Emory, the director of the bread ministry.
Volunteers come from all walks of life, and all faiths. More volunteers are always needed either for the early morning run or for unloading.
Faith Lutheran is one, little church doing its fair share for people in need in Lehigh Acres.