On a Thursday night in November, a retired volunteer fire station in Harvest is transformed into a makeshift dining hall.
“Tonight, we are feeding the families of the Harvest-Northwest Madison County community,” says Mike Parvin, a volunteer.
Big smiles and full tummies are the result of the efforts of the House of the Harvest. Tony Hill says, “they give blessings out from God. They give out food.”
The community group launched two years ago while Adam Walker and his wife Jennifer were working at Sparkman Middle School. “My wife was the SGA sponsor and she was running a food pantry out of her classroom,” says Adam.
In early 2015, schools in Madison County shut down for days due to brutally cold temperatures. That’s when the couple recognized a major need.
“School is getting canceled and all these kids are coming by to get food out of her food pantry because we weren’t going to be in school the next few days,” says Adam. “And, we couldn’t keep it stocked.”
Adam says the food pantry began to overflow, and they needed more space.
Meanwhile, The Harvest Volunteer Fire Department was getting ready to open this new fire station. They needed to sell the old building.
Remembering the time, Adam says, “We’re even trying to maybe even negotiate with them an arrangement to rent it for a short time period and they’re working with their real estate agent and they come across this deed.”
That deed stated the building must must serve a community purpose. Community leaders came together and made Adam an offer.
“They come back in and they’re like, ‘you know what, we’ll sell it to you guys for a dollar.’ So, just incredible, just God working,” he says.
Each Saturday, at the House of the Harvest, they open up the doors to serve the community. But, Adam says it’s not just about the food. “Our mission is Prayer, love food, and in that order.”
Julene Smith says, “To me it’s a gift of God. They’ve got love and kindness in their heart.” Julee Kent adds, “They pray when you get your groceries and take you to your car. They never turn nobody away.”
Fueled by volunteers, the House of the Harvest now serves hundreds of its neighbors each weekend. “Each person that comes in, each family that comes in, we put a person with them to push their buggy and just try to build a relationship is our goal.”
It’s a community effort to serve the community. “They’ll walk through on the outside and at each station we have a particulary product.”
One blessing at a time, Adam says God is at work through the House of the Harvest. Volunteers say God’s at work through Adam and Jennifer.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. Everytime we come here, we get filled up by their spirit,” says Parvin.
Former NFL lineman and 7-time pro-bowler, Walter Jones often volunteers at the House of the Harvest. He says, “What Adam is doing here is something that, when I first came here for a visit, I was totally touched. I told everbody with the Walter Jones Turkey Bowl Foundation, I told ’em, ‘Hey, we want to be a part of this.'”
If you want to help, Adam says the best thing you can do is just show up. For more information, visit the House of the Harvest website.