The (pre) beginning - Part 1
New Hampton Christian Church Pastor Paul Drummond stood alone Saturday morning in the musty basement of the former Headstart school building, a structurally sound yet visually unkempt structure located 50 paces west of Albany Country Club's sprawling No. 3 green.
You cannot mistake Paul Drummond for someone else. He stands about 6-foot-4. The former high school and college basketball star once ran a construction crew "My carpentry specialty became bathrooms," he chuckled. "I
was the tallest guy on the crew working in the smallest room".
Shortly after 8a.m. Saturday, Drummond, a carpenter's tool belt firmly attached about his waist, its contents a formidable weight, wondered aloud If maybe his prophecy and his revelation regarding his responsibility to the Lord were, at times, too far reaching. "You think so?" he asked.
I told him no. I didn't think so.
This is not the first time I stood next to this man, this mirror of Old Testament apostles. He's the same Paul Drummond who, in part, initiated the South Field Christian Revival four summers ago, then a similar event at Grand River Saddle Club Arena the following summer. Neither proved an economic success. Did not matter. And I remember this Paul Drummond standing in the heat of those days. Sweat streaming down his face. Doing what he truly loves to do - working for the Lord. The Lord identifies success differently than most of us. It's not bank accounts or cars or big houses that impress the Lord.
"It's humility and giving and sharing and caring."
To that end, the Pastor Drummonds of this world are well assured choice acreages in Heaven.
You gotta believe; you gotta do. Because that's the way it is.
The (pre)beginning - Part 2
The old Headstart school building.
Albany Country Club's No. 3 green.
One this majestic image of pageantry lying carpet-like east of Albany along Highway 136.
The other a snake-infested remnant from another time, another then.
The irony inescapable.
Dues-paying clubbers expend thousands maintaining their golf course's manicured greens, playing rounds of golf with golf clubs costing still hundreds of dollars more. It's their right, it's their club.
But standing near that old white school building Satur-day morning, October's crispness quite vivid, I had to smile when the country club's sprinkler system kicked on, drenching No. 3 in life-preserving moisture.
A flip of a switch and what the green needs is provided. No questions asked.
If only it were that way for those in need.
Well, citizens of Gentry and Harrison counties, it soon will be.
The (real) beginning
The New Hampton Christian church, in cooperation with the Albany Ministerial Association, will soon open "The Lord's Warehouse" in the former Headstart school building east of Albany. The warehouse will become a food, clothing and appliance distribution center for families and people in need throughout Gentry and Harrison counties. Food distribution will be coordinated with Albany Community Services. A joint steering committee consisting of the New Hampton Church, Albany Ministerial Association and Community Services is being formed and will provide input and assist in warehouse's day-to-day operation. The Lord's Warehouse projected start date is Nov. 1, but that may be delayed.
"We have a lot of renovation work to do between and then," assured Joanne Reese, an Albany resident and member of the New Hampton Church. "If it's God's will, we will open then. We are trying our best." The Lord's Warehouse, once open, will provide "means for the (Gentry and Harrison county
communities) to share with the less fortunate by collecting distributing clothing, shoes, food and other household items
In other words, when you donate you are assuring a family or friend in need will receive what they need they need it.
Spiritual needs will also be a priority of The Lord's Warehouse.
How it works
You will take your donation directly to the warehouse. Reese expects the warehouse to be open two half days per week, staffed by volunteers. The exact schedule will be published in the newspaper when it is determined. Reese said a minimum of two volunteers will be required whenever the facility is open for distribution. 0n volunteer will always be on call for emergency needs as a devastating fire. Transportation will be provided to the warehouse if you are unable to secure transportation. People receiving warehouse items will be register name, address and phone number, each dutifully recorded for future reference and follow-up. Reese said, under normal conditions, there will be no attempt to make judgements on who qualifies as needy." Still, there will be "guidelines." The warehouse, by definition, is for people who demonstrate a need; it is not for a family to make weekly trips to supplement household desires. Reese does not envision giving tax receipts for fair market value of donated items. She said the warehouse will provide receipts for cash donated and "may want to reconsider (receipts) if a legitimate request is made for other items." Large items like big appliances or furniture will not be stored at the warehouse due to space limitations, but a list of potential donors and their addresses will be maintained. Donated non-food items will be sorted, sized and displayed on shelves and racks in the warehouse's upper level. Only clean items in good condition will be made available. Anything that does not measure up to that criteria will be discarded. All donated food will be stored in the warehouse's lower level. Food items will be selected for distribution to people or families in need by volunteers after assessing the need. People will not be allowed to "shop" the warehouse's shelves. Food items are not for sale.The warehouse will not charge for its service, but donations will be accepted.
Working for the Lord
Saturday was a clean-up, fix-up day at the warehouse. About two dozen, mostly New Hampton Christian Church volunteers erected stud walls, attached sheet rock, built hand railings, and set up shelves, the latter to showcase and secure donated items ranging from shirts to canned beans.
It was downstairs where most of the reconstruction occurred Saturday, all under direction and guidance of Pastor Drummond. "I'm pretty bossy," he admitted. "I know what I want done and I don't waste time." Throughout the morning volunteers, each wearing a tool belt, did as Drummond told, or, when in doubt, asked Drummond for specifics. Saturday's projects included scrapping paint outside, building walls in the basement, repairing the front stairs, installing racks and shelves, caulking outside windows, and installing electrical outlets, to name a few.
Albany Christian church's new minister, Pastor George Morey, offered an hour from his busy morning to the cause. Pastor Morey is a former Savannah High School football star then destined for a Division I football scholarship before a terrifying ankle injury scuttled his foot-ball career. In many ways that injury led him to a life of ministry. No regrets. None. Pastor Morey is a man blessed by many skills, a multifix-it guy who can tear down and build up practically anything. Grabbing a reciprocating saw, he punched out a rectangular hole for an electrical outlet to be used by the warehouse's basement freezer. The freezer destined to hold donated frozen food. "I like this," said Morey, an overrun of sawdust settling on his long-sleeve white shirt, "This is physical ministry."
The George Gillespie family owns the former Headstart school building. With no plans for it, the family agreed to a "no charge" two-year renewable lease with the New Hampton church. The church will oversee operating and renovation costs."We will administer the program, the Lord's Ware-house," said Reese, "We will be responsible for all finan-cial obligation; however, it is envisioned that the program will be self sufficient from specific cash donations to cover operating costs." Everyone is a volunteer, today and tomorrow. "There will be no paid position," stressed Reese. "We're doing the Lord's work."
Donations have already arrived, the largest a $1,000 cash infusion by Bethany Wal-Mart (Mike Hayes, general manager). That donation became the seed money which spurred Saturday's day-longrenovation. With that gift the New Hampton church purchased $1,400 in construction and paint-related material. "After one day we're already $400 in the hole," smiled Reese. "But the building is starting to look great."
Other donations to date include: Hogue Lumber, Gary Simpson, Jerald Manring, Tempreaster,
Helpo Services (Carrollton), and Community Services, Albany. This is what the Lord's Warehouse still needs: Shelves (book, shoe & storage), an expandable child's enclosure gate, a small table and two chain, Christian books, Gospel music tracts, story tapes, three (3) space heaters, one (1) dehumidifier and two (2) solid outside doors. Also a money box with locks.
Can you help?
Last Saturday's work day was 'Just the first. Although plentiful, there remains plenty to do. Painting, carpet shampooing, installing locks. Cash donations toward operating expenses. All and more are required. There are more Saturdays to come.
"Saturdays are the official work days," continued Reese. "But we are flexible. We will acommodate anyone's spare time if they want to help us.
If you have a skill or if you can donate, please call lord's Warehouse at (660) 726 - 4297, or Tom Kerms (660) 439-2597,
(816) 341 - 2263, The New Hampton Christian Church at 660-439-2651, or Community Services at 660-726-5663
You won't regret it!