Panama City - We are quickly approaching the holiday season. It's a time of thankfulness, of hope and giving back, but for the volunteers of St. Andrew Baptist Church Ministries, everyday is a holiday and an opportunity to give
Now, they have a new reason to be thankful. A brand new 10,000 sq foot building housing 3 ministries working to make a difference. It's aptly named the Center of Hope.
Nestled on the corner of 98th and 17th street, the large, brick building makes a statement all on it's own, but it's what it stands for that makes this story.
"It's just amazing to watch God work," said volunteer, Charlene Moody.
Moody has been with the ministry since it began in 1998.
"We went from one building, then we went to two buildings, then three buildings, and now we're in the center of hope and it's just fantastic," said Moody.
That it is, and, Monday through Friday, these volunteers are working to provide food, clothing, and medical attention to those in need.
For center director, Wendell Holley, it was wise words that inspired his involvement.
"If your church disappeared tomorrow, would your community even miss your church?" We believe Bay County would miss this church," said Holley.
On opening day alone, they served over 100 families.
"This is going to put us around 3500 people a month," he added.
It could be a strain for any businesses, but they don't see it that way
"It's just a joy for us to be able to help people," said Holley.
The Donation Response has been overwhelming. From the canned foods, to the forklift that moves them, all the way down to the land it's sitting on; The Center of Hope has relied on the goodness of others and a faith in God in order to change lives.
From those it's helped, to those who serve, it gets down to love and it's what has grown from the corner that "Hope" has built.