|Bryant relinquishes seat on Helping Hand board |
|Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 9:02 pm |
| By GLENDA CAUDLE |
Special Features Editor
When Dale Bryant began serving his community by volunteering his time, energy and expertise at Helping Hand ministry, the fledgling organization was operating out of space at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on East Reelfoot Avenue in Union City, the longterm moving force in the effort recalled at the recent gathering to mark his “retirement” from that board.
The Rev. John Archer, former pastor of Union City First United Methodist Church, was involved in the effort with Bryant in 1996. When Archer retired from the local pastorate and moved to Jackson, Bryant took over many of his responsibilities as well. Soon thereafter, in 1998, the ministry was able to move into a new space of its own on Main Street and, in 2001, Helping Hand took possession of a new building with space for a thrift store as well as offices for the director, space for a food bank and storage niches for items that could be given out to individuals and families in need in the community.
The organization’s address for the past 11 years has been 430 North Miles Ave., just north of Save-A-Lot grocery store. The hours of service are 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The facility’s phone number is 885-3924.
Stacia McIntosh has been the Helping Hand director since 1999.
She reports that in 2011, the ministry provided financial aid for 931 families in the area. Seven hundred thirty people did not go hungry because Helping Hand was there to provide food. In addition, staff and volunteers were able to clothe; to help provide furniture and household goods; to assist with payments for electric, gas and water bills; to help pay rent; to be there when a doctor’s bill needed to be covered; and even to meet funeral expenses and other miscellaneous needs. Twenty local families enjoyed better holidays at Thanksgiving and Christmas because of Helping Hand and 100 families benefited from the help they provided with school supplies, clothing and baby items and fans and heaters to help deal with weather extremes.
Mrs. McIntosh says she has valued Bryant not only as a dedicated board member, but also as a friend who has been a great teacher for her in her job and the relationships it has involved.
“Dale is very sympathetic to the needs of people because he has actually walked in their shoes. He has an open mind and an open heart that is solid gold. He’s a great leader in the community and his church, in addition to what he has meant to our board through the years, and we are going to miss him a lot,” she says.
Published in The Messenger 5.02.12