* Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of stories on the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
BELPRE - The Belpre Area Ministries continues to serve the needs of its community and is a member of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Belpre Area Ministries (BAM), located on Washington Boulevard in Belpre, provides emergency food, clothing, fuel and utility assistance. The mission is supported by sales from its thrift store, which sells clothing and other household items.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Belpre Area Ministries officials Barry Cheuvront, Tracy Stone, Larry Arnold and Monte Bellew stuff a box with food for Thanksgiving. The BAM is putting together 75 boxes for families for Thanksgiving.
The thrift store has sold almost $48,000 worth of goods this year, said BAM board member Larry Arnold. That money is put back into the store for the food pantry to replenish the shelves and pay for utilities.
The store, located at 2310 Washinton Blvd., is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. It's staffed by volunteers from the 13 churches that make up the BAM.
The churches include Belpre Church of the Nazarene, Belpre Church of Christ, Belpre Heights United Methodist Church, Belpre Congregational Church, From the Heart Church Ministries, Mullen Memorial Baptist Church, Pioneer Presbyterian Church, Porterfield Baptist Church, Rockland United Methodist Church, St. Ambrose Catholic Church, St. Mark's United Methodist Church, the Celebration Center and Whitman Chapel AME Church.
Barry Cheuvront, is the major overseer of the thrift store and pantry. Referring to himself as the vice, vice president Cheuvront said each church provides volunteers on a weekly, rotating basis.
"Each church has volunteers who work about once every two months," he said, adding Cheuvront and his mother Lois are at the place 95 percent of the time
BAM first opened its doors in 1995 providing only food assistance to those in need. Through the 13 churches that make up BAM, the community support and the dedicated volunteer staff BAM is now able to provide a host of services to those in need in Belpre and Little Hocking.
Arnold said about 500 families are serviced by the BAM on an annual basis. That's about 2,000 adults and more than 1,300 children.
In addition to the store and food pantry, the BAM also puts together holiday boxes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those boxes, which contain enough food for four or five meals and a meat voucher, are separate from the store operations.
"All this is donated and comes from outside the store and food pantry," Arnold said.
Tracy Stone credits the Save-A-Lot food store for all its assistance with the ministries. Officials also thanked Kroger, Rite-Aid, Fruth Pharmacy and the city of Belpre for working with the BAM and its voucher programs.
"We are doing stuff 365 days a year," Stone said. "As our support has grown it has enabled us to continue in reaching our mission."
For information on services call (740) 423-2069.