Jeff Fannin says there’s never been anything like it.
Joe Cline concurs.
Fannin has been pastor at Bluebank First Church of God on Bluebank- Ramey School Road for some 20 years. Part of his job includes running the church’s Good Shepherd Food Ministry.
Fannin hopes the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic will unify people. He’s says it’s wrong to compare this crisis to Sept. 11, 2001.
“This is affecting every family,” Fannin says. “There’s people that would normally give who are out (of) work. The uncertainty is going to keep many people from giving. There’s a lot of giving people, but you can't give what you don't have.”
Monday, you could hear Fanning sniffling over his phone, a byproduct of a sinus problem and not because of COVID-19 symptoms. He’s not sure if the coronavirus pandemic will increase his workload. “I don’t know if we'll be busier than we’ve ever been,” Fannin said. “We are definitely as busy as we can handle right now.”
Fannin said his church serves about 150 families (about 600 people) a month. He hasn't seen many new customers, but the ones he has need more.
Cline has been senior pastor at House of Prayer, a nondenominational church on Whispering Oaks Drive, since 2016 and associate pastor 10 years before that. His food ministry varies, but usually stays around 50 families.
“There’s always a need out there,” he said.
Two things perturb Fannin: people who try to go to several food banks at the same time and hoard food when they don't need it.
“One of our quotes is, 'We have to feed the greedy to get to the needy',” Fannin said. “And that is unfortunate, but that is always gonna be the case.”
Fannin says his inventory comes from God’s Pantry in Lexington and from donations from church members.
“We get it from anywhere I can,” Fannin said.
Fannin doesn’t think the pandemic will last long, that spikes in patient loads will end.
“I'm praying that it doesn’t,” he said. “Three weeks to a month, the curve’s gonna be flattening, we'll be getting back to normal.”
While Cline notices the lack of a firm date the pandemic could end, he is nevertheless optimistic. He said extending hours is being considered, and he said his church's cupboards have never been dry.
“When the Lord sees a need, He does supply it,” Cline says. “I think since we’ve had this goin’ for about 20, 25 years, I don’t know that we've ever been about dry. We've always received from some source.”
Bluebank First Church of God
2601 Bluebank-Ramey School Road Phone: 606-784-9241 Hours: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, by appointment only Gateway Helping Hands,
204 Morehead Plaza Phone: 606-780-9704 Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
House of Prayer
600 Whispering Oaks Drive Phone: 606-776-0814 Hours: 5-6:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays Christian Social Services
1446 E. Main Street Phone: 606-784-5329 Hours: 10 a.m.-5p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays