By Karen L. Willoughby, Managing Editor
[img_assist|nid=8001|title=Renovations on the Storefront|desc=Renovations by Kingdom Builders for the Lord Inc. give a facelift to the front of Ferriday’s Delta Storefront Ministries.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=424]FERRIDAY – About half the population of this Mississippi delta town lives in grueling poverty, the kind where kids wear flip-flops in mid-winter because their feet outgrew their school shoes from last fall, where supper might be a bit of rice sprinkled with tomato sauce, because that’s all that’s left in the cupboard, where clothes stay piled on beds for the family to crawl under, to thwart the chill left from a too-thin blanket in a house that might not have much – if any – heat.
Delta Storefront Ministries helps.
It’s been helping since 1989, when it was started in a rented building on Ferriday’s main street by a pastor and his then-WMU-president wife: Preston and Ruby Holder.
Despite a building that seemed to show its age more each time the doors were opened, about 500 families a month sought the food, clothing and spiritual assistance provided by Delta Storefront Ministries.
The building’s owner watched the faithfulness of the Holders and other volunteers who provided for the physical and spiritual needs of area residents, and last year gave the building first constructed in the 1930s to the ministry.
In early March, the Kingdom Builders for the Lord Inc., working in conjunction with Louisiana Baptist Builders, renovated the 5,700 square foot building.
[img_assist|nid=8002|title=Ruby Holder and Buddy Willis|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=67]About 40 volunteers froom 22 churches each day for six days painted the interior brown and exterior white, installed new plumbing, rewired electrical throughout, added two commercial-sized air conditioning units, replaced a tiny break room with a full (if small) kitchen, upgraded the solitary restroom, hung a suspended ceiling, laid carpet in the “church area” and otherwise painted the concrete floor.
They also gave a new front to the building just down the street from Ferriday’s main bank, replacing oft-vandalized low windows with ones higher up.
The Georgia Barnette Offering for state missions and the Louisiana Baptist Convention Church Site Corporation provided the money for the renovation, said Buddy Willis, Kingdom Builders’ building coordinator and pastor of Flowers Landing Baptist Church in Newellton.
Kingdom Builders is a construction mission group established when there was an East Central Louisiana Baptist Association. It has grown into a state-wide non-profit with a nine-member board and a resource pool of about 180 volunteers.
Among their nine mission projects last year: L&A Baptist Church near Jena, a prison chapel in Epps, and more.
“I am so excited about this,” said Ruby Holder on March 7 as she stood amidst a sea of construction activity. “This place is a lighthouse in this community, and this work being done will bless the people coming here and the entire town.”