What Hunger & Compassion Looks Like on the Front Lines
Barbara Rogers is the Pastor, Founder and Overseer of One Way Deliverance Ministry. She has been a pastor for 19 years and says she has seen so much, both from her time in New Orleans during Katrina, and now here for many years after relocating her ministry to Baton Rouge.
“So many people are hurting and dealing with so many disparities, especially our young people,” says Rogers. “Young mothers and their children, our elderly. Our elderly are trying to manage what they have. If they are getting a fixed income, after they pay bills or maybe buy medicine they don’t have enough for food. So it is vital that we help them in this regard, as much as we can.”
Each month, One Way Deliverance Ministry receives about 300 families coming to the pantry to receive food, however Barbara believes that number will increase soon as they have recently taken on a new area due to another pantry closing. With the food they receive from the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, the pantry is able to help people from many different backgrounds.
“The situations are dire,” states Rogers. “Some people who are working are not making enough to make ends meet. You see them come in with their little children and my heart goes out to them because I was a single parent for years and I understand the struggle. When I was coming up as a young woman, raising four kids on my own because I was divorced, I would go to St. Mary’s Food Bank years ago and they helped us so many times. So when I was called into the community service work, I knew that food had to be one of the main services that we offered.”
Now, One Way Deliverance Ministry not only has a pantry, but they offer other programs to help those in need. Having once been in need and now being in a position to help others, Rogers comes from a place of empathy toward people who visit her pantry.
“You know what it is to feel what they feel. And then it gives you the place of understanding what real compassion is. To be compassionate to their needs because you’ve been there and it’s real. It’s a real need, the disparities are real.”
Occasionally, people just need a little help. Barbara suggests, “Give people a chance. Don’t down them, but give them a hand up. We have to try to help pull them up… When people have been hurt by life and have gone through so much pain and disappointment and rejection, many of them feel that’s all life has for them. They don’t think that they deserve anything better or that they can obtain anything better. But we can help them, share with them. Ask ‘what is it we can help you with to make your life better?’”
“Please consider the poor. Please consider that the needs are vital, they are great,” she says. “And when you help somebody, you really help yourself. If we can come together collectively and pull someone up out of the trenches and out of a bad situation, it’s going to help the whole system. It’s going to help the whole community… We have to love everyday. There are 365 days of the year and we have to show love.”