Homeless ministry providing food, shelter in metro
Thanksgiving is for giving thanks but the Christmas season is all about giving as well.
For one Madison County woman, giving is a year-round thing she does for area homeless men, women, and children.
It’s a ministry of giving and providing food, clothing shelter, and a hand up to those in need around Madison County.
Sandy Reeder began helping in 2016. She started by making meals, boxing them up, and delivering them. The food led to a gateway of trust where she could provide more and perhaps the biggest gift of all, telling folks about Jesus.
“We take items they need like shoes, blankets, socks and clothes, sleeping bags and tents. We go out looking for them and I have relationships with some and I know where they live,” Reeder said. “We just try to show them love.”
The Lord’s Supper Homeless Ministry, a 503C non-profit, is always looking for help with donations of money, time and food and other items that the homeless need.
The Cairo, Mississippi, native found her way to Madison County nearly a quarter century ago. Reeder works from home as an account manager for a company that produces interior signage for hotels.
“I do the homeless ministry on Saturdays until the Lord allows me to retire from my regular job,” she said.
The ministry came about after her first husband passed away a decade ago from cancer.
“I’ve always lived my life with a protector – my middle sister and my first husband were both very protective. I went through a time where I was so, so fearful and wouldn’t leave the house. God’s Word has so many scriptures about ‘do not fear’ and about being our protector. Isaiah 41:10 became my own personal scripture. I’d lay in bed and say that over and over in my mind till I fell asleep. When I finally started believing that scripture, that God was my protector and I shouldn’t fear that he would help me and uphold me with his righteous right hand.”
The verse states, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
Reeder didn’t realize that God was training her for a ministry.
“There were trials and tests to see if I would trust him with my life and I passed some and failed others. I knew after a year and a half that there was something God wanted me to do. And I said, ‘just tell me and I’ll do it.’ But he didn’t,” she said.
But after a shopping trip, she was at a stoplight when the vision came to her to buy a building and start cooking and helping the homeless. Reeder didn’t have the resources to do so and told the Lord and then the vision became clearer.
“He told me to go buy the largest coolers I could find for the back of my truck. Prepare the meals at home and start that way," she said. “I was flooded with relief and prayed about what to feed them and how to find them.”
She wrote down the directions she got and after three months, went out on a cold December day and found her first three homeless people to help.
“What I love is the Lord grew it really slowly. And I can see why. I would have been overwhelmed. Started out there was three, then five, then seven, then ten and 15 and before COVID, I was feeding up to 60 people each Saturday,” she said.
She also started a Bible Study on Wednesday nights outside the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson before the pandemic hit as well. With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, Reeder and her helpers continue to seek and help the homeless.
“I tell folks it’s like finding Easter Eggs when we go out,” she said. “For me, it’s all about sharing the Gospel with them. If you don’t feed their stomachs, you can’t feed their souls. They are like family to me and it’s all about taking care of them and showing them the love of Christ and plant seeds wherever I can plant them.”
She noted that “God has provided everything. For the longest time, I didn’t tell my family because I felt like they wouldn’t understand.”
Then one Sunday in her Life Group she asked if there were any old blankets and coats and such to help those she was finding. Then there were blanket and coat drives that have the ministry stocked on items to give out.
“I don’t solicit donations but I post on Facebook if folks are looking for a holiday mission and I list the specific needs. Other than that, I don’t solicit because God has been so faithful to provide – food and blankets and sleeping bags and whatever I’ve needed. He’s been so faithful. It’s not my ministry. It’s God’s. I figure whenever he wants me to have a building with a kitchen and showers, He’ll provide that. This is where He has me and I’m just trying to be obedient.”
Reeder has had a lot of husbands and wives volunteer to help her along with youth groups who get their eyes opened to the problems of the real world. Reeder has a Facebook page, The Lords Supper Homeless Ministry in Madison, MS.
“I want God to get all of the glory.”
Matthew 25:37-40 New American Standard Bible states:
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”