In 2015, the First Baptist Church of Richwood, WV felt the Lord impressing upon them to reach out to their community by providing items such as canned food, clothes, diapers and other basic necessities. After losing eight coal mines in only seven years, the town’s population went from 10,000 to 2,000, and the population it had left was hurting. The ministry had slow beginnings, but it tried to do what it could to give the people of Richwood what they needed most. Although they truly desired to open a pantry for their community, they did not have the resources; that is, until God worked in mysterious ways and brought this church and Mercury One together. Leslie Carpenter, the Pastor Gary’s wife, recounts the growth of this ministry:
“On June 23, 2016, the community of Richwood, WV, experienced the worst flood since the 1950’s. We were devastated. The local grocery store had been closed a year earlier, so the people of the town could only get groceries at two locations: a pharmacy and a dollar store that was located in the center of town. The flood destroyed both businesses. So, this left the town with a dire need. The nearest location that has another pharmacy and grocery store is 12 miles away, and the closest grocery superstore is 26 miles away.
Churches from all over the Midwest and other parts of WV started coming to our church with supplies that were needed. Such items included toiletries, cleaning supplies, pet food, hand tools, and a great supply of food items. Our church became a donation drop off, and we were open every day for anyone that was in need. God had answered our prayers, and we were able to help our community. Operation Blessing became our partner, and with the help of Mercury One, they purchased all of the shelving to set up our growing ministry. It went from simply a box on the church kitchen counter to a full blown ministry. We continue to praise God every day that He took a tragedy and turned it into a chance for us to be a blessing to many people. And now, God has blessed us again with the partnership from Mercury One and Gleaning for the World who provided us with a delivery of around 10,000 meals that we will be giving out to the people of our community. We have been blessed, and are now beyond grateful to be considered a blessing to others.
We have seen God at work since day one of the flood; He is working on the hearts of the people of our community. We have had several people come to our church to receive donations that have said that they had never been in our church or even knew it existed. So many are returning and have smiles on their faces. We truly believe that they know that we are there for them and love them. And now, some are asking about our church services, and we’re excited to see their faces in attendance. We are even going to perform a wedding for a couple that came to our church due to the flood and receiving donations. We are so excited to see how God is going to continue to allow us to be His hands and feet to our community. We thank God for the partnerships that have been made to further and expand the kingdom of God.”
Donors, thank you again for all you have enabled Mercury One to do, both directly with recipients of our aid in times of disaster, and through our partners like Operation Blessing and Gleaning for the World.