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NFL Chaplain urges Master Provisions MPOWER Lunch crowd to be a bridge to organization’s miracles

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The message at the 6th annual Master Provisions MPOWER Lunch at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center was true to the mission that has guided the organization from its inception.

“Needs don’t stop, neither do we,” is the motivation has driven Master Provisions to help people throughout the Northern Kentucky Region and around the world.

Master Provisions founder Roger Babik speaks to the crowd at Monday’s MPOWER Luncheon, the organization’s annual fundraiser (photos by Mark Hansel).

Master Provisions is a faith-based organization focused on connecting resources to needs.

The organization was founded by Roger Babik in 1994, with a focus on international relief.

The mission began with the sending of supplies and clothing to the Ukraine and later expanded to included relief to other countries, including Kosovo and Honduras.

Eventually, Master Provisions began to focus on proving local assistance, while maintaining its international efforts.

Master Provisions distributes resources to partner nonprofit agencies who serve people in need. This collaborative approach allows partners to spend less time and money obtaining resources and gives them the opportunity to focus on their core missions of serving others.

Local Master Provisions milestones included the donation of a permanent facility by the Clifford R. Borland Sr. family and a partnership with Isaiah House. The latter led to the creation of mobile food pantries to help hungry people in Ludlow and Covington monthly.

“It’s because we are helping meet needs locally too now, that there is so much excitement,” Babik said. “When we were an international-only ministry, we didn’t have the groundswell of support that we enjoy right now. We are helping people right here in our backyard with real needs and I think that has made a big difference in community support.”

The organization has developed a wide network of community partners, including Boone County Schools and St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Contributions large and small were welcomed at the Master Provisions MPOWER luncheon

Dr. Randy Poe, Boone County Schools Superintendent, said the relationship with Master Provisions has been mutually beneficial because students learn valuable lessons about community service.

“Master Provisions is a great partner with us,” Poe said. “We provide services to them through our national honor society and a bunch of our students. Through service learning they are really involved in helping children and helping the local community to be a better place as well as internationally, so we are always excited to help them out.”

Over the years, other school districts throughout the region have also come on board to support the organization.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare CEO Garren Colvin said Master Provisions and St. E share similar missions.

“What Roger has done with Master Provisions and their leadership team kind of mirrors what our leadership team has done with our community,” Colvin said. “We want the community to be viable, we want it to be successful. You need organizations like Master Provisions and St. Elizabeth Healthcare, so the entire region can be lifted up.”

God's Bridge for Change

At Master Provisions, we know that needs don't stop. So neither do we. Thank you to everyone who attended our 6th Annual MPower Lunch. We hope you join us as we continue to build God's bridge for change. Thank you to our friend and supporter Liz Bonis Local 12 News for emceeing the event. Tune into Local 12 the next few days to see coverage from the event! Its not too late! Donate online at www.masterprovisions.org/donate.

Posted by MASTER Provisions on Monday, October 28, 2019

A capacity crowd of 450 was on hand Monday for the luncheon, which is the organization’s primary fundraiser. The event was emceed by Local 12 Health Anchor and Medical Reporter Liz Bonis, who has become a fixture at the annual luncheon.

The goal this year was to raise $150,000 to help fund the efforts of Master Provisions in the coming year. Of that, $61,000 was committed before Monday’s event.

NKY Chamber of Commerce President Brent Cooper praised Master Provisions for its efforts in the region, but said it will take the type of community participation Northern Kentucky has become known for to help the organization move forward. Local 12’s Liz Bonis, who emceed the event, is seated at left.

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Brent Cooper spoke about the community impact of the work at Master Provisions. He said, however, they can only continue that work if the community-at-large helps them reach their fundraising goal.

“Master Provisions is a well-run, well-respected agency that is plugged in to the community in a way that maximizes results,” Cooper said. “They work hard every day to help make this place better than they found it and I’m always happy to join them in helping any way I can. My ask today is that you either continue your ongoing support, or discover a way to give for the first time.”

The Keynote Speaker again this year was  LaMorris Crawford, NFL Chaplain for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Crawford began by sharing his own story of overcoming hardship.

Crawford was one of nine children raised by his grandmother in Chicago, after his mother was murdered at the age of 17.

He was in a gang by the age of 11 and was selling drugs at 14. 

His journey to change his path in life was aided by  participation in athletics in high school, but he still struggled to find direction throughout his teenage years.

Ultimately, a family member focused him on a spiritual mission that led to a college degree and a successful career.

Crawford delivered a spirited plea for those in attendance to help Master Provisions reach its fundraising goal.

MPOWER Lunch keynote speaker LaMorris Crawford, NFL Chaplain for the Cincinnati Bengals, told those in attendance they are the bridge that will allow the miraculous work of Master Provisions to continue.

In an animated presentation, he used the Biblical story of the fish and loaves to engage the audience.

According to scripture, six loaves of bread and two pieces of fish became enough to feed the throngs that had come to hear Jesus speak, trough a miracle.

Holding up a loaf of bread that he planned to pass around to the audience, Crawford said Jesus was the bridge that allowed that miracle to happen.

“I’m not saying a miracle is about to take place,” Crawford said. “Y’all put too much pressure on a brother. I’m not Jesus.”

Crawford, however, said he did believe miracles were possible if there was a need for them.

“A miracle will not take place (here)…because there is no need, you just ate,” Crawford said. “There is still bread on some of your tables.”

He instead, referred to a video shown earlier in the presentation that gave examples of the work Master Provisions performs in the region and around the world.

“There is needs that you saw and you are the bridge,” Crawford said. “You are the natural miracle to someone’s need.”

That inspirational message earned Crawford a standing ovation and inspired many in the crowd to reach for their checkbooks.

Those who were unable to attend the event, but would still like to contribute to the Master Provisions mission, can donate online here.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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