Meet Our Neighbors Making A Difference: Les

Mediaon April 27th, 2017Comments Off on Meet Our Neighbors Making A Difference: Les

From left to right: Les Grooms and volunteer David England

Les Grooms might be 80 years old and well into his second career, but he has no intention of slowing down.

“I plan to go as long as I can. The blessing of helping others keeps me going.”

After thirty years with the school district, Les retired and became the pastor of the Augusta Presbyterian Church sixteen years ago. Over the past few years, Les and his congregation have started new programs in response to the need for food and fellowship in their community.

“We take the gospel to heart, feeding, clothing, and serving those in need. We have a coat drive and give away each winter. On the second Wednesday we have a Bread Basket Fellowship Meal where we grill out in the summer or serve a hot homemade meal in the winter. A member of the congregation had the idea to offer a soup supper every Monday to feed the elderly, children, and others. It’s a good place for hungry or lonely people to come for a conversation and a home cooked meal.”

The Augusta Presbyterian Church also hosts a holiday meals for the community and they partner with five other churches to offer a weekly food pantry.

“We started out with one table of canned goods, peanut butter, and spam serving about ten families a week. Now I order from Freestore Foodbank and pick up produce. We have about 75 families each week. They are so excited to get potatoes, oranges, bread, corn, and onions, things they can’t normally afford to buy.”

Les is able to pick up his order and fresh produce from Freestore Foodbank’s Wilder, Kentucky distribution center.

“Every Tuesday morning I bring one of the younger men from church to help pick up our order, well they’re all retired too, but they’re younger than me! The warehouse manager also helps load my SUV.”

“I would like to do more but our whole budget is only a few thousand dollars for the year. So we stretch it as far as we can, and get some donations from neighbors and organizations. But the Augusta Ministerial Food Pantry wouldn’t survive without the Freestore Foodbank.”

Les hopes to continue to expand their food pantry and increase the number of people they serve at their community meals. He also encourages members of his congregation to bring food from the meals and pantry to local shut-ins unable to attend.

“This is a labor of love. I think all of us who work on these meals get more in blessings than we are able to give in food. This is my last occupation and I get more pleasure out of this than anything.”