Mission to feed body and soul

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Boxes filled with more than 50 pounds of tomatoes, 30 pounds of green beans and 20 pounds of strawberries awaited volunteers from Morningstar United Methodist Saturday morning at Murphree&8217;s Fruits and Vegetables in Cahaba Heights.

Mark Winslett is the vegetable gleaning coordinator for Morningstar, which is located in Chelsea. He and his wife Debbie take their turn picking up produce and making sure that there are volunteers

every weekend to do so.

&8220;There are people on the streets without jobs, maybe people that have an addiction and this is the only way they can get any type of food, so what little bit we can do to help them out is just a blessing to all of us in the church,&8221; Mark Winslett said.

Debbie Winslett said she feels it is her duty to help out. &8220;Also, as Christians it&8217;s our responsibility to take care of people.&8221;

Morningstar works in conjunction with the Society of Saint Andrews in Birmingham to deliver the food to the Firehouse Shelter downtown.

Once a volunteer arrives at the shelter with a load of produce, other shelter volunteers help to unload. Winslett said volunteers spend an average of two

and a half hours every week on the mission.

Before volunteers arrive, workers at Murphree&8217;s set aside produce that might be bruised or spotted because it usually can&8217;t be sold.

&8220;We didn&8217;t want to throw it away when somebody could get some use out of it,&8221; Geraldine Murphree, owner of the business, said.

The donated items are prepared into meals for the area&8217;s homeless population. Murhpree said if they didn&8217;t donate the food to charities it would simply be thrown away.

Last year, Morningstar volunteers helped to deliver more than 15,000 pounds of vegetables