Offering families their daily bread

Jesus Offers Ministries brings home the bread for hundreds of families in Shelby County and the surrounding areas.

Vicki and Ronnie Johnson run the project out of their garage, filling it with hundreds of bread loaves, pizza crusts, bags of bagels and rolls.

“The ones (beneficiaries of the ministry) that are really grateful will just humble you to your knees,” Vicki said.

“It means so much to me just seeing the people coming in and being able to offer them part of their family’s food for the next week.”

When Johnson saw that the ministry had become too much for her friend, she not only wanted to take it over but expand the project.

After posting messages on local Web sites like www.freecycle.com, more than 200 people began showing up every other week to grab a share of bread.

On average, Johnson said each person walks away with $15-$20 of bread.

“You don’t think about it being an expensive item until you have a large family,” Vicki said. “There are also a lot of people living on disability and a lot of people losing their jobs.”

She added that most people try and drop a dollar into the bucket or sometimes come a day early to help sort.

“With the word free, everyone thinks there’s a catch,” Johnson said. “But there’s not, we just ask people to only take what they need and offer in return what they can. We manage it with help from God above … He puts gas in the tank”

The ministry includes two women who take out food to people in communities who have no way to get to Chelsea. Those women currently deliver to 30 people in the Montevallo area and 40 in Pell City. The ministry currently needs someone to deliver to the Alabaster and Leeds areas.