The North Jefferson Baptist Association broke ground April 1 on the new CARING Center, a ministry that provides food and clothing to community members in need.
The CARING Center (Christians Actively Reaching Individuals Needing God’s love) started in 1993 and is now distributing over 2 tons of food each month. The center also houses a clothes closet.
The new building will be the first built since 1974 when the association’s office was built.
“If you had asked me 29 years ago when I came to North Jefferson if I was going to build something one day, I would have said, ‘Only on a mission trip, which we have done many times.’ But it became very apparent that this was what we needed to do,” said Steve Loggins, director of associational missions for North Jefferson Baptist Association, at the groundbreaking.
Steve Abney, pastor of North Highland Baptist Church, Warrior, and NJBA moderator, prayed for blessings for the new venture.
“Throughout the Bible, many people, many men, have prayed and said, ‘Lord, please bless this effort that we are going to do. That’s what we’re going to do today – ask that God would bless, not ground, not buildings, not materials and all of those things, but our efforts that we do together.”
‘Answer to prayer’
Dixie Kuykendall, CARING Center Director, spoke about the ministry.
“This groundbreaking is a much-awaited event and an answer to prayer. It’s been an unusual year for the food bank. We’ve had to wear masks and gloves and serve food curb service. But our awesome volunteers have been there and put their own health on the line to make sure every family was served,” said Kuykendall.
The expansion of the CARING Center was needed due to the condition of the current space as well as a need for more room, Kuykendall said.
“We are all more than excited to know that soon our canned goods shelf won’t look curved under like it’s falling down. We won’t have to stack boxes against the wall. And we won’t have to pile clothes and toilet paper in our prayer room,” she said.
Loggins said the plan is to erect a 50 x 75 metal building on Mount Olive Road between the two current buildings, connecting to the small building on the north side with two enclosed corridors. The front part of the new metal building will be a clothes closet and the back part will be a food pantry.
The projected cost of the project is expected to be around $140,000, Loggins said.
“This is with our Builders for Christ team doing the labor for the site preparation, remodel and all internal construction,” said Loggins.
Remodeling of office space will be held until the new building is finished and funds are available, he added.
To find out more about North Jefferson Baptist Association’s ministries, go to njba.net.
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