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The Full Story

By Executive Director John Glasgow

The Living Hope Foundation began as an idea and vision of past Pastor Rev. Claude H. Tolbert, to expand community outreach through New Enoree Baptist Church (190 Dove Drive, Newberry) in the early 2000s. The church was modelling a ministry of a Texas outreach ministry called Project Turnaround. They were looking to go ‘outside the walls of the church’ for community outreach. Attending church every Sunday without outreach to the community was not enough. So, a group of volunteers, who paid their own way, went to Texas regularly a few weeks at a time to learn about Project Turnaround and their adopt a school, senior programs, nutritional health, religious, and theology-based training. Certain volunteers were selected for each program training based on their interests and skills.

Back at Newberry, they went over the training and formed a steering committee. They started working with schools to see what was needed. A nonprofit was formed after about a year of idea gathering. They called that non-profit the Living Hope Foundation and associated with New Enoree Baptist Church. They worked through the forms and red-tape needed to form a 501C(3) in 2003 with the mission statement: “The Living Hope Foundation is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout our community – through our time, finances, product, and lives. To be good stewards of all that God has given us, and to serve our fellow man faithfully using Christ as our example.”

A food pantry seemed to be a community need that was potentially simple to address, so in 2006 Living Hope established the Daily Bread Food Pantry, now our most popular and successful program. The location has moved around from downtown on Main Street, then to a site near Louis Rich/Kraft, and is now at New Enoree Baptist Church with a mobile food pantry at the Oakland Community Center 980 1st Street in Newberry. In the past we had a thrift shop and sold donated items very inexpensively, also donated items to people that needed them. Other organizations including We Care out of Chapin helped with these thrift shop donations.

The Oakland Center, which was the union hall for the Oakland Mill, was rented by Living Hope for an amount of time, from the board of directors of the Oakland Center. An agreement was reached to deed the building for Living Hope’s headquarters. This has hosted after school programs, senior programs, children’s summer camps, counseling services, and of course, the mobile food pantry.

Everything the foundation does is tied to the works of New Enoree Baptist Church and our community outreach. Living Hope is a separate entity with its own board of directors, but the board of deacons at New Enoree is an advisory to the Living Hope Board. Books are kept separate, and Living Hope is an independent body.

From a structural standpoint, I serve as executive director under leadership of our pastor, with a board of directors, and about 50 regular volunteers that keep things running. Currently, our foundation is serving 200 families per month at each location’s food pantry. A total of 400 or so every month. The two programs active right now through Living Hope are the Daily Bread Pantry and the Senior Program.

The Living Hope Foundation maintains ties to many parts of the Newberry community, and has had working relationships with other nonprofits and organizations including the Newberry Family YMCA, The Rotary Club of Newberry, Westview, DSS, Newberry College, WeCare, literacy programs, and others. On a larger scale, there are corporate, national, and local partners including Harvest Hope Food Bank, Feeding America, WalMart, Food Lion, Merchant Foods, Kraft, and Little Caesars Pizza — most of these helping with the food pantry.

Future plans for Living Hope may include expanding the location at the Oakland Center to include proper facilities for the food pantry and a revival of the thrift store and other programs. Being a non-profit, donations are tax deductible and community support is welcome. The Oakland Center is also available for rental for community events, call 803-924-4104 for availability.

To learn more about Living Hope’s programs and the Daily Bread Food Pantry check out the Facebook page The mobile food pantry at Oakland Center’s schedule is on the Facebook page and New Enoree Baptist Church hosts the Daily Bread Pantry every Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.

This story originally appeared in The Newberry Observer.

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