On the beautiful Fall Friday afternoon of October 12th, the Owsley County Food Place celebrated 20 years of ministry to families in and around Booneville. The celebration took place outside at the Owsley County Senior Citizens shelter. There was bluegrass gospel music, Bible reading, sharing about the ministry, prayer of thanksgiving for the ministry and of course, food. Those that attended enjoyed grilled hotdogs and the trimmings. Jerry and Susie Lacefield, founders of the ministry, cut the cake and everyone enjoyed a time of celebration.
Jerry and Susie came to Owsley County in November 1997 when Jerry was called as Pastor of Booneville FBC. They dedicated their lives to the people of one of the poorest counties in the nation. Along with the food ministry, they also had a clothing ministry, hosted mission teams that did home repairs, conducted backyard Bible clubs, block parties and lots of outreach events in the area.
During the celebration Jerry shared some stats from the 16 years they served at the Food Place:
- $71,997 was donated to buy food
- 389 tons of food were given out
- 572 volunteer mission groups and individuals served in the ministry
- Volunteer mission groups and individuals came from 16 states and 2 countries (Canada & Africa)
- Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, youth groups, inmates from the local jail and other local volunteers assisted in the ministry
- 104 Bible Schools were held at assisted living facilities, apartment complexes, the ministry center and even one an individual’s yard
- 3,414 children were given Christmas items by Valley View Baptist Church in Louisville
- 1,350 children were given Easter baskets by Midway Church in Kentucky
- 11 families were helped in 2003 following a flood in Booneville
- 2 trucks were used for 8 years, then Harden Baptist Church in Benton, KY donated a trailer for their use
Jerry recalled a time in 2006 when funds were low, and they did not know if they would be able to continue the ministry. They prayed for God to intervene and soon after received a donation of $14,000.
In 2008 they celebrated their 10-Year Anniversary, but also saw this as the biggest giving year, when $21,000 was given to support the ministry.
The biggest statistic that Jerry shared was that 290 persons professed faith in Christ during the 16 years they served at Owsley County Food Place.
Although the Lacefields have since retired and are now living in North Carolina, they still have a special love for the people of Owsley County. This day was a Homecoming for them and it was also evident of how much the people loved them and were so happy to see them once again.
The Owsley County Food Place ministry continues, being led by Karen Jennings and retired pastor Bill Walton. They currently serve around 300 families a month with food, mostly received from God’s Food Pantry in Lexington. They have 7 freezers to store frozen food and are planning to build a cooler that will hold even more frozen food.
Thank God for ministries such as the Owsley County Food Place that continue year after year, month after month, to provide not only the physical needs of the people but show and share the love of Christ. May they continue to see people fed and souls saved as a result of their labor.