A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The Master Provisions MPower Lunch helps the agency fulfill its vital role in the region and beyond

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Master Provisions will host MPower Lunch Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Airport Marriott Hotel in Hebron.

Master Provisions connects resources to needs. In the Northern Kentucky region last year, those resources included 3.2 million pounds of food distributed to agencies who feed the hungry or through monthly mobile food pantries in Ludlow and Covington. Master Provisions also distributes clothing and shoes locally and internationally, and ships resources to international partners to help people become self-sustaining.

The lunch begins at noon and ends by 1:30 p.m., offering guests a fast-paced, inspirational event that showcases how Master Provisions impacts the lives of people living in crisis.

Chuck Mingo, Oakley Campus Pastor at Crossroads Church is the guest speaker. Liz Bonis, health care reporter at Local 12 News will serve as emcee and David Armstrong, President of Thomas More College will provide remarks.

Presenting sponsors of the lunch are St. Elizabeth Healthcare, MarkCo Plumbing and Honor Design Pros.

The theme of this year’s MPower Lunch is “Together, let’s do more.”

“Of course, a gift at the lunch helps us at Master Provisions do more,” said President Roger Babik. “And, because Master Provisions gathers and distributes resources to other nonprofits that serve people in need, your gift will also help those agencies expand their missions. That’s what we mean by doing more together.”

Student from Ryle High School work with volunteers to get shipments ready for the Master Provisions mobile pantries (photos by Mark Hansel)

Master Provisions provides food and clothing to families throughout the region through its own program and in collaboration with other agencies as a member of the Safety Net Alliance

On the last Saturday of every month, Master Provisions provides food and logistics for two mobile food pantries, at Ludlow Vets and St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s Covington Campus.

The two pantries serve about 750  families each month, and the last Saturday of the month is chosen because that’s when the need is the greatest.

When you multiply that number out, about 35,000 people will be touched by that local outreach through the various ministries that Master Provisions serves.

On Thursday and Friday before the event, large groups of volunteers gather at Master Provisions in Florence to prepare for the mobile pantries.

Pat Moeves, cooler manager for Master Provisions said things get really hectic in preparation for the end-of- month program.

John Eldridge, left, director of operations/community outreach and cooler manager Pat Moeves coordinate preparation for deliveries to the Master Provisions mobile pantries.

“I start at about 4 a.m., and when this month’s outreach hits the ground, we are already preparing for the Saturday after Thanksgiving and then on December 16, with a short turnaround there will be another outreach,” Moeves said. “God’s work doesn’t stop, people have to be fed and it’s something that we volunteers get a lot out of, seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces.”

Master Provisions also tries to ensure that items such as produce, which has a limited shelf life, are not wasted. Several times a week, cattle or pig farmers pick up items that haven’t been distributed to families or organizations.

“They produce the food, food feeds people, it’s the circle of life,” Moeves said. “We have a dumpster that we empty on Tuesday and Friday and it’s never full, because we are recycling our clothes in a baler, and we work with international ministries. We try to be good stewards of what God gives us.”

At this time of year, with the holidays and cold weather approaching there is also an emphasis on providing other items.

“We want to make sure the kids are going to have the other attributes, such as socks and coats,” Moeves said.

In addition to the community volunteers, special needs students from Larry A. Ryle High School in Boone County also participate in mobile food pantry preparation, as part of their life-skills learning.

John Eldridge, director of operations and local outreach, said the vision of Master Provisions is that its work is not complete until every physical and spiritual need is fulfilled.

“We have chosen the word fulfilled over met, because we want it to be more than just giving you stuff,” Eldridge said. “Fulfillment is helping bring people to maturity and this vision is so much more than just Master Provisions doing this alone. We need to do this collaboratively, whether it’s the man on the street, companies, or other ministries, it’s not a lone thing.”

That mission might include food, clothing, or providing a space for other agencies Master Provisions works with to help them achieve their mission.

Eldridge said volunteers are the life’s blood of Master Provisions and they come from all walks of life.

“I have a saying that we have volunteers from jail to Yale,” Eldridge said. “We literally have folks that are court-ordered through community service, that we don’t look at through the lens of judgement, we look at them through the lens of redemption. We had a woman who was here last week, that will be here again Monday, that literally was at Yale before she came here.”

Jackie Tuckerman, of Union, has been volunteering with Master Provisions for about a year.

“I wanted to find a place where I could fit in, that was doing something of purpose,” Tuckerman said. “I researched and visited a few places, but when I got here, I found out they were helping people who were helping people, so everything they do has a ripple effect in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and all over the world.”

When agencies come to Master Provisions for supplies, they are allowed to select the items that most closely match the needs of the people they serve, instead of just being given random supplies. The items are placed on a scale, which allows Master Provisions to track the amount of donations received and being distributed to each organization.

The event goal of MPower Lunch is $150,000 and all are invited. There is no ticket price; guests are asked to donate as they feel led to give.

Master Provisions recruits financial sponsors whose gifts support the care of former orphans in their home country and culture. Currently, 200 former orphans in Ukraine and Togo now reside in Christian homes through these efforts. It also sponsors short-term mission trips to work alongside its partner agencies overseas.

Since its outreach started, Master Provisions has made 10 million pounds of food available to more than 200 non-profit agencies.

Here’s what your gift can do:

  • $5,000 creates 40,000 meals for hungry neighbors
  • $2,500 delivers a shipment of farming and sewing equipment that will aid 15,000 internationally
  • $1,000 supports 600 families at monthly mobile food pantries in Covington and Ludlow
  • $500 provides life skills training for special needs students
  • $250 distributes 1000 pairs of shoes

This is the fourth annual MPower Lunch which has grown every year. RSVP to kasey@masterprovisions.org. Those not able to attend may make a secure online donation and learn more about the organization at masterprovisions.org.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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