• S H O R T S H O R T S
I T is very gratifying to hand someone a new pair of socks
and clean tennis shoes, shirt, jeans; to provide the abil-ity
to take a hot shower and a free haircut and see the
transformation that takes place.
Begun 20 years ago to minister to the powerless and hun-gry,
First Fruit Ministries is perhaps best known for its three-days-
a-week food pantry. But every Thursday is “unsheltered
day” for Wilmington’s homeless — those living in cars, tents,
the woods, porches or on street corners.
The homeless are
picked up in vans or
walk, bike or take the
city bus to the minis-try’s
Vance Street, opposite
Boys & Girls Club, for
hot showers, a change
of clothes, and a visit
with a doctor, mental
health counselor or
housing specialist. A
volunteer barber gives
haircuts. They can
nap in safety, out of
the weather, on com-fortable
nutritious meals are
served for lunch and dinner. All services are provided for free.
There is a non-denominational worship service.
Within the building is the Dream Center, housing for
women who are homeless, or at risk, or sex traffic or domestic
violence victims. A few women with children are also housed,
including one adorable infant currently in residence.
Every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon a team does
street buffet-style hot meal feeding from a location off
Market Street. Individual meals are also taken these days
to the camps and
Clean sleeping bags,
bedding and coats are
much requested give-aways
in the cooler,
Because the goal is
to place everyone into
housing, goods can be
donated to set those
Any donation —
cash, clothes, back-packs,
soft luggage or
household items — is
to the least of these.
— Pat Bradford
One Baby Step at a Time
WBM FILE PHOTO
Food and kitchen manager, Sylvia Diaz prepares a meal in the First
Fruit Ministries kitchen in January. A team of volunteers loads hot
meals in the van to be distributed to widows and homeless camps
in 2016. Ministry founder Rick Stoker is at far right.
WBM february 2020