Sistersville First UMC Begins ‘Faith Hands’ Program
Noticing fellow residents living from paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to get by, a local parishioner at the Sistersville First United Methodist Church knew she had to take action. While this individual, Becky Pancake, had been volunteering to help people in these types of situations in New Martinsville, she realized that her local community had many of the same needs, and there wasn’t much in place to meet them. It was from this realization, and the places she’d volunteered, that the idea to begin a new ministry later called “Faith Hands” first appeared.
Becky brought this idea to Reverend Andrew Tennant, who agreed this was a needed ministry. When Faith Hands was presented to the congregation of the aforementioned church, Rev. Tennant said the members were 100 percent on board with the vision.
Faith Hands is in operation on the third Saturday of each month, starting with a free hot breakfast at 10 a.m. and lasting until noon. At this time, anyone in the community and the surrounding areas is welcome to come out and enjoy the wonderfully prepared food. Those who are in need will be able to get items from a “Necessities Closet.” This closet will have essential items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, feminine products, toilet paper, and diapers. All of these things are necessary hygiene products for day-to-day life, and that’s what this ministry has set its focus on. Rev. Tennant explained that many families survive on food stamps, which unfortunately does not cover hygiene products.
As a result, it’s created a need that Faith Hands hopes to fill. Because of this gap, most products offered at the Necessities Closet are hygiene products.
Rev. Tennant said that when people arrive for breakfast at Faith Hands, they each will be given a paper with a list of products available. Then, each person is able to choose eight to 10 items they or their family is in need of, and how much is required. Afterwards, these items will be presented to them.
These services were first made available on Saturday, Jan. 19. And despite the weather forecast, the ministry saw a great turnout. Much to their delight, they were able to help fill the needs of many community members. A hot breakfast of biscuits and gravy was served, and a microwave was raffled. Faith Hands partnered with the Tyler County Family Resource Network (FRN) in order to achieve this.
Because it is their goal as a ministry and their mission as a church to help people in need, they strive to make available the things that people are in need of. As a result, Faith Hands welcomes any donations people are willing to give for their cause. They also invite anyone interested in volunteering for this ministry to join them, and offer community service hours to students who assist as well.
Rev. Tennant reported that their goal is to reach people the way Christ would, and in doing so, doors are open to anyone in the community and surrounding areas. Faith Hands will serve a hot breakfast and open their Necessities Closet again on Feb. 16. These services are available at the Sistersville First United Methodist Church in the Fellowship Hall from 10 a.m. until noon, and all are invited to join.