The small town of Mabton, Wash., has the highest percentage of poverty in Yakima county – at 19 percent. When Amber Powell, stay-at-home mom and member of Mabton Grace Brethren Church (Adam Copenhaver, pastor), and her husband decided to get involved in ministry, they originally envisioned a small farm where they shared their produce with the community.
But God had different plans.
“We’re, I guess you could say, kind of radical,” explains Amber “[When my husband] talked to Pastor Adam about the idea… you know how when your idea leaves your mouth and it goes in somebody else’s ears the idea changes? Adam heard this, and said, “I’ll put you in touch with the food bank guy because he’s looking for some help.”
The couple attended the meeting and started praying about the right thing to do.
“The next give‑out day, I came in just to volunteer to see how things were going,” Powell recalls. “I don’t know why, maybe because I was bored. Powell noticed three people, one in her 60s, filling 50-pound boxes with food and moving them out the door into the hot June day. She asked one of the workers why there weren’t more helpers.
“She said, ‘Well, we don’t have any volunteers. There’s nobody from Mabton who wants to come in and help their own community.’ My heart bled when she said that…so I just started volunteering.”
And she kept praying. One thing led to another, and now she has been the volunteer manager of the food bank for the past two and a half years. She has used that role to rally the members of her church as well. At her request, the church became a sponsor of the food bank, and sends several members on a regular basis to volunteer. Powell has witnessed a remarkable transformation.
A lot of the volunteers are retired seniors, who use their free hours to complete all range of tasks to meet the needs of the community.
“I think it’s kind of brought [the church family] together,” notes Powell. “[but] in a different way, where instead of praising together, which is amazing, we work together. And when you work together, it’s a different feeling and a different atmosphere entirely.”
“It’s definitely bonded and cemented me with a lot of the seniors in the church. They are my people group now.”
[Connect:] Click here to send a note of encouragement to Amber and find out how you can pray.