For over 20 years, the Luckey Ecumenical Assistance Fund (LEAF) has worked to assist individuals and families in need within the Eastwood Local School District with necessary resources such as food, electricity, or heat.
LEAF consists of five Luckey churches — Zion United Methodist, Faith United Methodist, Zion Lutheran, Salem Grace United Lutheran, and Emmanuel Free Will Baptist — that call themselves the “Luckey faith community.”
“All of us pastors get together, and we created this account years ago, and we’re trying to get money to people in need to help them financially,” said Zion UM Pastor Earnest C. Sampson.
Sampson, who has been with his church about three-and-a-half years, wants to promote the need for donations and volunteers, but he also wants those in need to be aware of what LEAF has to offer.
“The group of pastors usually meets out here (at Zion UM) and they just decided to do something to help our community, with times being tough,” Pastor Sampson said. “Most of it was from when a lot of people were laid off quite a few years ago and we decided to do that. The local churches give money to it on a monthly basis with people who also donate money to keep this program running.”
Last year, at a cost of $869, LEAF assisted 36 families with Thanksgiving food baskets. At a cost of $499, LEAF assisted 28 families with Christmas food baskets and presents for their youth. And, LEAF provided $250 to a family in need of financial assistance for rent.
“In fact, besides Christmas baskets, Thanksgiving baskets, assistance for rent, we also do a thing in town called Sharing Hands. What we do there is provide a meal once a month for all those in need who can come to the local Legion hall and then assistance pays to rent the hall so that people can come on in,” Pastor Sampson said.
LEAF pays the $187.50 rent to the Luckey American Legion Post No. 240 on Park Drive for Sharing Hands to the community to host a free meal the last Monday of the month. Take-outs are available for those who cannot get to the Legion hall.
During the last quarter of 2013, LEAF’s Luckey food pantry assisted 35 families.
A press release says LEAF is doing this “by empowering individuals, and churches in proclaiming Christ in word and deed, with the operation of a food bank for use by area residents or transients.”
Sampson said, “We’ve got all kinds of volunteers helping out. We also work closely with the local school district. Once we find it out that someone is in need, we will do what we can do.”
Sampson’s press release continues, “(If) the Holy Spirit is moving you to assist, either by volunteering or by a financial donation, to help LEAF to continue to assist our community, please contact one of the local churches in Luckey. Thank you, for all of your support, for God’s families in need.
“The community donates money to it and that’s what keeps it going,” Sampson said.
For assistance, to donate, or to volunteer, contact pastors at Zion United Methodist: 419-833-8432, Faith United Methodist: 419-833-4191, Zion Lutheran: 419-833-5511, Salem Grace United Lutheran: 419-691-3240, and Emmanuel Free Will Baptist: 419-571-7240.