Girl Scout Troop 02713 visited with us this week to help us pack the trailer for a delivery and to pack potatoes. These young ladies, and their leadership, did a wonderful job! Thank you ladies for helping us prepare to feed the hungry! You were awesome!
Person of the Week: Bill and Sharon Welsch
by: Larry Blunt
updated: Friday, February 12, 2016
MARS HILL, N.C. -- Our Persons of the Week are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of people every month.
When you come to the home of Bill and Sharon Welsch, expect to be fed. It's homemade with hospitality and generosity the Welsches are known for.
They call their program The Lord's Harvest.
And the need is huge. Madison County, where they live, is one of the most food-insecure places in the nation.
They're helping people like Kristy Surrett.
"It's embarrassing for a lot of people to say 'I need help.' Even with kids, to them it's like saying you're not making it as a parent," said Surrett.
"We think of ourselves as the land of golden opportunity and this wonderful dinner-bowl of the world, but there is hunger," said Sharon Welsch.
The Welsches and their volunteers at Lord's Harvest grind away at hunger--with a 1925 grist mill.
They make cornmeal and put in baggies. They take thousands of pounds of potatoes and pinto beans bought with donations, and a lot of the Welsches own money, to distribute throughout Madison and Yancey counties, and beyond.
They've reached as far as Ohio, Kentucky and western Virginia--and they have churches in Tennessee they help.
They are able to reach hundreds of people each month, each with a unique story, and a common need.
"It's something I feel really passionate about and was called to do," said Bill Welsch.
It's compassion in action. "We like to give people hope," said Bill.
They're giving more than hope. They're promoting the health of families in need.
If you would like to help the Welsch's or learn more about the Lord's Harvest, click here.
On Saturday, November 21, we loaded up the trailer to take it to Spillcorn. Due to the deluge the first weekend of November, we had to postpone the trip and after several attempts to reschedule with them (and uncooperative weather), we were finally able to make the trip this past Saturday. 148 boxes were packed for delivery, including the boxes from MANNA that had been packed the first week of November, enough meat for one per household, alongwith our boxes from The Lord's Harvest. Many happy people left with happy hearts on Saturday! This was particularly helpful to them as it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and for some, this was all the Thanksgiving meal they would have! Thank you to ALL of you who help us feed those who are hungry in Madison County. It is a blessing for us to serve with you! We pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We give thanks for YOU!
On Thursday, November 5, a small group gathered to help us pack 250 boxes which will be distributed throughout November to those who are hungry in Madison County.
One of our Bonner Scholars, Caitlin Deaver worked diligently to get food ready for packing. Way to go, Caitlin!
For about an hour these dedicated workers packed boxes
Young and old alike, packed together!
And at the end of the night . . .
Thank you to ALL who came out to pack including Bonner Scholars from Mars Hill University and several members of Mars Hill Baptist Church. You blessed us and you blessed those who will receive these boxes.
"Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me" (Jesus). Matthew 25:40
Yesterday (August 6) we packed 250 boxes of staple food for distribution to the Spring Creek, Spillcorn and Ivy Ridge Communities with the help of two Mars Hill University Football players, Richard and E.J. and church member, Sybil. These folks did an EXCELLENT job and we are so thankful for their hard work (else we would have had to pack the boxes ALL by ourselves). Our thanks to each of them and to Coach Tim Clifton for sending us such gentlemanly, hardworking, and STRONG young men. It was a joy for us to get to know them better. Feeling very blessed and thankful!!!!
Here are a few of the recipients of the 31 backpacks and school supplies delivered to the Spillcorn Community last Saturday. 20 backpacks with school supplies were delivered to the Spring Creek Community on Friday, July 31st. On Monday, August 3, 59 backpacks and school supplies will be delivered to the Ivy Ridge Housing Authority in Mars Hill. With School starting on August 17th, these young people are ready to start the new year with a new backpack and school supplies, something many of these families could not afford to provide for their children. What a blessing to see these happy faces as they modeled their new backpacks for us!
The Youth and their leaders from Viewmont Baptist Church in Hickory, NC came on August 1 to help us make a delivery of staple foods, potatoes, pintos and cornmeal along with backpacks and school supplies to Spillcorn. Afterwards, they helped pack boxes of potatoes and assisted in organizing the "Barn". We are thankful for the sweet, hardworking, willing spirits of these young people and their leadership. We had a wonderful day ministering together!
This summer we have been blessed to have Caitlin Deaver as one of our summer interns. Caitlin is from Weaverville, NC. She is a Bonner Scholar at Mars Hill University where she will be a sophomore this fall majoring in middle education. Caitlin helped us reorganize the food storage room last week, June 29-July 4th. She also helped set up tables for a huge box packing and afterwards organized the food storage room in alphabetical order. (Those of you who know Sharon, know this makes her VERY happy!) Sorting and unpacking items off the trailer today was a breeze thanks to Caitlin's efforts. Thank you Caitlin for blessing us.
A group of young people from St. John's United Methodist Church helped us pack boxes on June 26th. They did an awesome job and even helped us pack the trailer for our delivery. We are thankful for these young people and their youth minister, Val Kenney and their other adult leaders for sharing in the blessing of helping to feed the hungry in Madison County!
On Tuesday, June 16, we were blessed to have these amazing young people help us with some organization! These polite, conscientious, dedicated, and talented young athletes came to help on a day it was 90 degree outside and sweated to help us get two rooms at Mars Hill Baptist Church organized into food that has been boxed and food that is awaiting the next "boxing". Now we know what we have available and what we need to order in preparation for the next time we pack food boxes for the hungry in Madison County. We are thankful for such awesome volunteers and their leaders! I particularly loved that several of them admitted that they are as OCD as I am! ;) That made our time together even more fun! A shout out and hugs to this great group! :)
Following the renovation of our garage, it was discovered, sadly, that our FarmAll would not be able to continue to be used for the grinding of corn into cornmeal. Sooooo, meet Elmer - our newest addition. He will be running our 1926 Williams Grist Mill - look for a post on Facebook of the tractor in action!
We are very excited to introduce you to our new trailer! Some of you gave monetary donations to help us be able to purchase this trailer and we are truly thankful for your gifts. We put it to use for the first time last Monday when we went to MANNA foodbank in Asheville. As we were coming home, the skies opened up and we had a downpour! How thankful we were not to have to spend the time under an overpass getting soaked ourselves as we tarped the load- (and we can't tell you how many times we have done that in the past five years!!!) We'll be naming the trailer (as is our tradition) soon - so stay tuned for how the new trailer is helping us feed the hungry (dryly!) in Madison County!
After ten days of being down due to a virus, Bill Welsch made deliveries this week (April 13th through 17th) to several food distribution points. One of those spots is New Victory Baptist Church in Jonesborough, TN. The staff at the help center, pictured above) are always delighted to see Bill and come out to help him unload the truck. Fifty boxes of potatoes (750 pounds), pintos (100 pounds) and stoneground cornmeal (100 pounds) are delivered there once a month to this group who provide food to many hungry families in the Eastern Tennessee Mountains. We are thankful for all the volunteers who help us with various aspects of packing loading, or unloading. Sharon's mother and daddy, Eloise and Glenn Howell have been coming once a month since January 2015 to help with packing the boxes. We don't know what we would do without them!
We are also thankful for the many faces we are blessed to see when we make deliveries. Here is one of the volunteers at FARM (Feeding Aging Residents of Madison), a program that we developed that helps provide food to veterans and other senior adults in Madison County.
If you would like to learn more or if you would like to help, we welcome volunteers! The Lord's Harvest is a non-profit organization that is run solely by financial contributions. We are thankful for those who give so that our neighbors who are hungry can receive physical and spiritual food1
This past Tuesday, we helped the Madison County Backpack Program with 200 bags of potatoes and pinto beans. The packs were packed by members of the Mars Hill University Softball team, one member of the Mars Hill University Baseball team and some of the girls for Delta Zeta. These bags, which included cornmeal muffin mix and a canned ham, will be distributed to 200 students this weekend for use during Spring break which begins on Monday. Bags were packed in a little under 50 minutes! Thanks to all those who helped and especially to Willa Wyatt, who heads up the backpack program at Mars Hill Baptist Church! It was an honor for us to help!
We were so blessed to partner with the Mars Hill Baptist Community Feeding Program on Saturday, March 28th. 100 boxes including staple foods, potatoes, pintos, stone ground cornmeal, apples, onions, and carrots were shared with folks in need in Madison County. Special thanks to all who helped to pack boxes, including our Mars Hill University Bonner Scholars, Jenna Greene and Hunter Wallace, and to Samuel and Lawrence Ramsey, and to those who helped load and unload boxes for transport to the Wagon Wheel, including Harold Tipton, Milton Ready, David Brott, Jerrell Deaver, Don Russell, Larry and Travis Davis and the Boy Scout Troop and their leader, Jim. And kudos to the scouts! They helped those who were served by carrying boxes and keeping things organized. How grateful we are for all those who braved the bitter cold and brisk wind to pass out boxes for over two hours to help our neighbors in need. And thank to the Community Feeding Program and their leaders, Nita Ready, Elizabeth Hamrick, and Dixie Tipton, for partnering with us in this endeavor. It was a blessed day and we give thanks!
We partnered with New Victory Baptist Church in Jonesborough, TN this weekend to provide potatoes, pintos and cornmeal to 200 students who are preparing for Spring Break in the Harland County, Kentucky area. What a joy to see the faces of these children as they received their bundles of food. What a blessing to be used by God in this way! This is why we do what we do!