Everywhere you turn in our county there is talk about growth! Traffic, housing developments, and now the latest big news is that Mitsubishi is coming to town. No one can argue that the Williamson County GraceWorks purposed to serve nearly 25 years ago is not the same county today.
At the recent State of the County address by Mayor Rogers Anderson, he projected the county would grow from its current 231,000 residents to 380,000 by year 2048. Williamson County is not the same as we were 25 years ago. The same is true for GraceWorks. It is only logical that due to the growth around us, GraceWorks has needed to change, and the incentive to change continues.
We are experiencing this growth firsthand. As we ended the month of July we saw a record increase in the number of Neighbors needing assistance. In fact, there were two days last month when we saw a record 52 Neighbors in one day compared to a typical 30 or so Neighbors in a day. And most of the requests were for food!
Where are all these people coming from? Nearly 90% of them are coming from right within our very own county; many were here for the first time. As you would expect, we have also been seeing an increase in Neighbors coming from Fairview. We were recently blessed to serve a van full of our Fairview Neighbors who had carpooled here together to request food. Even though we have transitioned to a Mobile Service Model and will have hosted three Mobile Food Pantries in Fairview in a month’s time, we want to continue servicing Fairview from our Franklin site as well until we find a location from which we can offer rent and utility assistance, (and yes we are still looking!!!!).
Because the most requested help is for food, it is one of our biggest needs. With the increase in Neighbors being seen, the startup of the Fuel Bag Program and the hopeful continuation of the Class Room Snack Box program, having fully stocked shelves in our Food Pantry is crucial! We’ve seen the recent care and generosity of community through the literally tons of food (over 14,000 pounds) given in just one day at the Williamson County Fair. Thank you everyone who came and gave! That was a lot of food, but in light of the amount of requests for food that we receive, it will be gone soon.
You have been faithful to us throughout the years. Like the county and GraceWorks, your faithfulness has grown as you support our growing needs. I am excited God would see fit to position GraceWorks as the place to go for help in the hearts and minds of those who are in need. I believe our service increases because of your good works on our behalf as we serve our Neighbors. So it is with that same confidence that I am asking you to continue to support us with your tangible gifts of food and with your monetary gifts, so that we can buy food at a deep discount from partners like Second Harvest, as well as add stronger finances to our rent and utility assistance programs. Your support is vital! If you would like to respond right away, you can go online and designate your gift as your heart dictates.
In addition to our need for food, we also need more people to join us in serving our Neighbors as either a GraceWorker or a food pantry volunteer. We will host another orientation this fall to recruit these crucial volunteers. Watch our website for the date.
Thank you again for all you do to make GraceWorks possible. God is using you to grow our ministry!
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO