HANNIBAL — Harvest Outreach Ministries took a huge step toward turning a dream into reality on Tuesday, July 13.

The nonprofit organization purchased property on Lyon Street in Hannibal, and has begun making plans to build a permanent home for the Loaves and Fishes Program. The facility will house a commercial kitchen/dining room, food pantry and meeting spaces, which can be utilized by community and private groups.

Since Loaves and Fishes began in the 1990s, the ministry has partnered with several local churches to borrow their facilities in order to serve the Monday-Friday evening meals for the community.

For years, First United Methodist Church allowed the use of their basement for the program. When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred in 2020, the Loaves and Fishes ministry organizers re-evaluated how and where they were going to distribute meals. The safety of the people receiving meals and of the volunteers preparing the meals became the top priority.

For a number of months, the organization partnered with the Hannibal Nutrition Center by purchasing grab-and-go meals to be made and distributed by them, alongside their already existing curbside program for seniors. During this time, the organization began looking at various properties to purchase, with the dream of their own standalone building in mind.

In July, the organization slowly started reintroducing their volunteers back into the program, and developed their own grab-and-go distribution site out of the old Helping Hand Baptist Church building on Lyon St.

“We are so thankful for all of those who have helped us along the way. We could not have done it without you,” said Larry Hinds, executive director of Harvest Outreach Ministries. “This new building will allow us to provide a commercial kitchen with all of the amenities desired by our volunteer groups, allow for easy access for both patrons and volunteers, and give us the space needed for additional growth in our feeding programs.”

Numbers for the daily meal program and weekly food distribution have grown significantly since the pandemic, and the need is greater than ever. Harvest Outreach hopes to grow and expand all of their feeding programs to meet that need.

“The purchase of the land is the first step, but we need the community’s help to raise funds for the building project itself,” Hinds said.

Donations may be made through the organization’s website at www.harvestoutreach.faith or by mailing gifts to Harvest Outreach Ministries, 1732 Hope St., Hannibal, MO 63401.

More information about the Loaves and Fishes program, along with opportunities to access services or volunteer to help, are available by contacting Donna at 573-227-8833 Ext. 2.

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