Huge red donation buckets greet you as you enter Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Leeds. You can toss in any nonperishable food, and you know it’s going to a good cause. On the buckets are fliers with a few words: “Food Drive, Fishes, Loaves, Help” and others. But one word jumps out: “Love.”
Sure, people need food and fish and loaves and help and other basic needs from a nonprofit group, but love?
“We called our ministry Fishes, Loaves and Love for a very simple reason: We wanted to mirror feeding the people with fishes and loaves, but we also wanted to feed them love,” founder Lindsay Isbell said. “We believe when you bless others, you are blessed as well.”
Fishes, Loaves and Love began in 2016 out of a small Bible study. Isbell and the other participants wanted to get involved in the community and began cooking in churches in Leeds for the hungry. Now they serve all of Jefferson County.
“Our mission is to nourish bodies and souls through our involvement in the community, and to get people excited about giving back to their community,” Isbell said. “We do three things to make that happen. We cook meals and leave them at churches for their shut-ins. We have a backpack program with the Irondale school system. And we work with local youth groups who might not have the funds to go out and give back to their community.”
Actually, Fishes, Loaves and Love offers much more than that. It helps with frozen meals, baskets, backpacks and service projects, as well in hospitals and with teachers and first responders and the homeless.
“We have these donation buckets for any business or church that wants to participate in our food drive. We collect them three times a week,” Isbell said.
The numbers prove Fishes, Loaves and Love has been effective. In the first year alone, the group delivered 2,500 frozen meals, 50 hospital-care packages, 55 teacher packages, 200 police officer packages and 20 homeless packages.
“When we see the effect our work does for people, it really brings a sense of warmth and love to us,” Isbell said. “We feel blessed every time we deliver a meal or drop off a lunch at a school. It’s pretty awesome to feel we are truly helping people.”
Go through your pantry and cabinets and gather items, then head over to the Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Leeds and donate. Better yet, place one of the buckets at your place of business. These blessings will only come around and bless you.
For more, visit www.fishesloavesandlove.com.