I often pride myself for not being ‘news media’, but I will admit that I went to Wilmington, Ohio, for the same DHL story all the mainstream media came after. I am addicted to 60 Minutes, which is where I first heard about DHL closing a plant. Around 9,500 of the 12,000 people in Wilmington lost their jobs. After I saw this second report when CBS visited a year later I knew I had to visit.
Thing is, after having a cup of coffee in Joe’s Java, the ministry run coffee house that was the foundation of Sugartree Ministries, and talking to Jeff their worship leader, I was convicted about my intentions. There was nothing wrong with me going to Wilmington for the DHL story. But the story is not DHL closing operations, although the crisis still effects the community. The story I found was a rural community that has been faced with poverty long before DHL arrived.
You might be able to say I travel a lot, yet it’s been some time since I ran into a genuine ministry really after the heart of God. What I mean was in the middle of this hurting community, a man named Allen Willoughby, who is the founder of Sugartree Ministries, loves on everyone no questions asked. There is no agenda and people do not have to hear preaching just to get basic needs. They simply have to show up. Alan helps them all until the food or clothes are all gone.
What started as a Christian coffee shop is now feeding and clothing people in the tiny rural city. I honestly believe how we fight a social crisis like poverty is at the local level. Sugartree is a great example of positive change in a community.
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