P.U.S.H. uses Biblical miracle as model for fighting hunger

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

P.U.S.H. Ministries is looking to the community for help to fight hunger in our community with its “Feeding the 5,000” program.
The ministry’s food bank helps provide food for more than 130 families each month.
According to Pastor Jill Burcham, the program is named after a story in the Bible where Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 of his followers by breaking apart five loaves of bread and two fish.
The project began three years ago in a small church in Galax, Burcham said. “We were doing 15 to 20 food boxes and it started growing from there... when we developed our partnership with [Rooftop of Virginia Community Action Program], we realized that there were a lot not being served.”

Some families, Burcham explained, made just enough income to disqualify them from receiving government assistance, such as the EBT program, formerly known as "food stamps." However, they still didn’t make enough money to put food on the table.
That, Burcham says, is where the P.U.S.H. food bank comes in.
Operating out of Rooftop on North Main Street in Galax, P.U.S.H. Ministries fills more than 130 boxes with healthy food each month, which feeds roughly 460 individuals.
Delivery options are also available for those who are in need but lack transportation.
Volunteers include people through the Social Services TANF program and Goodwill. P.U.S.H. also accepts help from people who need to complete hours of community service.
Burcham noted that P.U.S.H. had been fortunate that various organizations have helped with large food donations, including Darco Southern and Grayson National Bank, who donated 6,000 pounds of food in December 2012. Several other churches had also showed generosity by collecting and donating large amounts of food.
“It’s how this survives — none of us are paid to do what we do. We rely on the generosity and the hearts of the community to feed their community, and there’s a lot of people in need right now," Burcham said.

Donations for the food bank can be dropped off at Rooftop of Virginia at 206 N. Main St. in Galax. The food bank accepts nonperishable food items, money, gift cards, toiletry items and other basic necessities. Donors should specify that the donation
is for P.U.S.H. Ministries. For more
information about this program, call (276) 236-7131, ext. 224, or (276) 235-1059.