A refrigerator "SHIFTS" to Osceola

Osceola Food Pantry
SHIFT Family Outreach Center (Source: KAIT-TV)
SHIFT Family Outreach Center (Source: KAIT-TV)

OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - The Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas recently got a grant that will help the people in Mississippi County.

The Food Bank received a grant for $636 from the Arkansas Community Foundation.

Those funds were used to benefit the Supplemental Help Inspired For Transition, or SHIFT, Family Outreach Center in Osceola.

SHIFT is a nonprofit organization that operates both a homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

The money was used to purchase a refrigerator that Executive Director Bishop Gregory Brown said they needed badly.

"We were overwhelmed," Bishop Brown said. "We really needed a new refrigerator. The other one had gone out and so, by us getting a new refrigerator that allowed us to be able to store our food to make it available to our residents."

Brown said that SHIFT has changed over the years with the need the community has shown.

"SHIFT originally started as an after school summer feeding program in 2012," Brown said. "After that we decided to convert our facility into a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. Most of the people that come to live here have either broken trust or are trying to rebuild trust with themselves and with others. So, we give them a six month period to allow them to try and get back on their feet."

"We have the eight bed homeless shelter up front, but the soup kitchen in the back," Bishop Brown said. "The soup kitchen feeds up to sixty people a day. And we try to do what we can to offer assistance. No questions asked. Anybody that's hungry can come in, sit down, sign in and eat. But they can not leave. They have to eat it here. That way we know they're getting the nutrition that they need."

Bishop Brown said they are always ready to help anyone that is in need.

"No matter what, we always have the food here to assist those that come in," Brown said. "Somebody may have run short for the month and just needs a meal. And so, they come in and eat. Somebody may know someone and bring them in to come and eat with them."

But Brown said they need the support of the community to continue working to meet the need.

"We receive food through the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, Feeding America and our local donations through Wal-Mart," Brown said. "Our biggest problem is always having supplies to serve the food! We've got wonderful cooks here who cook like they are cooking for their own family. But a lot of the time we need cleaning supplies, service supplies, plastic plates, foam plates, knives, forks, spoons… different things that involved serving the food."

Brown said Osceola has been a very supportive community.

"We live in a great community," Brown said. "Osceola has allowed us to operate here. And then, at the same time if we've ever fallen on hard times and there's just no funding there, we have some key stake holders in the city here that really believe in this program and really support us and all the things that we do."

Brown said they'll soon be working on raising donations.

They need a new roof on their current building and could even expand to help more people if they can find the funds.

"We're always discussing things we can do to help us move forward," Brown said. "We have some vacant lots here on our property. We would love to get a grant to be able to rebuild our facility to be able to feed and house more people. When it comes to homelessness, you never know when you're going to become homeless. The second thing, you always want to know that somebody's there and ready to receive you when you do need help. Homelessness doesn't have a face. It just has a circumstance assigned to the face."

If you are interested in getting involved or making a donation, Brown said you have a couple of options.

You can call SHIFT at (870) 563-0303, drop it by their facility at 619 S. Broadway St. in Osceola or you can mail the donation.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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