Grocery Rescue Partners take food around Fremont County

Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 1:50 PM CST
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FREMONT COUNTY, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -

The holiday food distributions have come and gone, but for this nonprofit, giving food isn’t seasonal, it’s a 24/7 operation. For the Set Free Church of Riverton, using their own resources to distribute food around the community, doesn’t cause them to give a second thought. Yet even with their daily hauling and labors for the last 10 years, they won’t even take the credit.

Richard Mills, pastor at Set Free Church, stated “I didn’t really pray for a food ministry or seek one, but it is what the Lord has given us, so we’re going to be the best stewards with what the Lord has provided and I just want to give Him all the glory.”

The Food Bank of the Rockies asked the church if they’d like to be a grocery rescue partner to be the vessel to take leftover food from grocery stores and distribute them where needed. Typically, the grocery store department heads will gather food from their own sections and give it to the grocery rescue partner. “But nobody ever came to really get it, so they were just giving it all to pig farmers,” said Mills.

So although the church was signed up to be a grocery rescue partner with Wal-Mart, the department heads still weren’t in the habit of collecting the food, so all the church would pick up and distribute was bread, until a Wal-Mart employee bolstered support among her co-workers. “She asked us what we were doing with the food, and we told her how we were doing outreaches, feeding people here,” added Mills.

Besides feeding people in the recovery program, Set Free was starting to minister to people on the street and inviting them to come to the church for a warm meal. “She started coming to hang out with us, and saw what we were doing, so she got all the department heads to start gathering the food together,” stated Mills.

The church then started to get bread, milk, meat, and produce. Although they didn’t have the means to store it all, they had the vehicle and trailer to haul the food. Mills noted, “A lot of food started coming in over the years.”

They have since been hauling seven days a week to distribute food to various food distribution centers, town halls, senior centers, and churches within Arapahoe, Ethete, Pavillion, Hudson, and Riverton. They have even gained the attention of Sara Lee, who now supplies the bread.

“The Lord has opened the doors, and it’s all the Lord because we really haven’t pursued anything, it’s just kind of fallen in our lap,” emphasized Mills.

Although most food is distributed at various storehouses, Set Free Church gives out meat every day at 3 p.m.

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