CRESTVIEW — While the morning sun climbs in the sky, Gene Stanton and Lonny Fuller work hard, loading hundreds of pounds of food and produce into their trailer.
The men volunteer with Brother Raymond Williams’ New Beginnings Baptist Ministries Missions. The food — from Crestview's Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie — is just past its last date of sale, but still fresh.
And a bargain at 2 cents a pound.
The mission, in partnership with the Bay Area Food Bank in Milton, buys food from the grocery stores, Missions Director Jimmy Smith said. Church members’ weekly tithes and offerings help fund the food's purchase. The mission also receives donations of government commodities.
Almost 1,100 needy people monthly rely on the mission’s food bank, so the organization established a daily two-hour distribution schedule, parceling out food and clothing between 10 a.m. and noon Mondays through Fridays.
“We let people come the day or week that’s convenient to them,” Smith said.
The mission daily serves between 50 and 60 people. For the homeless, volunteers prepare bags of ready-to-eat food that doesn’t require cooking.
The purpose is to help others at no charge, organizers said.
“We provide food and clothes here,” Smith said. “Nothing costs nobody anything.”
WHAT: Free food and clothes available through New Beginnings Baptist Ministries Missions
WHEN: 10 a.m. to noon weekdays except fifth Fridays
WHERE: Brother Raymond Williams’ New Beginnings Ministries, 404 W. James Lee Blvd., Crestview
NOTES: Visit or call the mission to volunteer or sign up for a distribution time, 398-6760