Helping Hands ministry honored for outstanding service

By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A joint outreach effort on behalf of people of faith throughout Lee County has earned statewide recognition.
Helping Hands, which brings together volunteers from Calvary Baptist Church, St. James Catholic Church, St. Luke United Methodist Church and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tupelo, to name a few, was awarded the 2010 Achievement by a Faith-Based Organization Award last month in Jackson.
The award was one of 10 Governor’s Initiative in Volunteer Excellence, or GIVE, awards which honor outstanding accomplishments from Mississippi individuals and organizations.
Helping Hands started in 1988 as an outreach of First United Methodist Church Tupelo, and since then other local churches have joined the effort in distributing food and clothing as well as offering counseling to the needy of Lee County.
Every Saturday the office on South Church Street is open from 9 a.m. until noon, and each month 500-600 families receive groceries and clothes to help them get by.
Members of First Methodist accepted the award on behalf of all Helping Hands participants at a banquet on Aug. 9.
“This is a communitywide effort, and we’re thankful to everyone who helps, from school children who donate canned goods to those who work at the office on Saturdays,” said First Methodist’s senior pastor, the Rev. Andy Ray.
The GIVE Awards were started in 1993 by former first lady Pat Fordice and Gov. Kirk Fordice. More than 180 individuals and organizations have been recognized since then by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.
Contact Galen Holley at 678-1510 or galen.holley@djournal.com