A woman stopped by a Mapco in Harvest in the days before Thanksgiving a few years back. She was down on her luck, almost in tears, when she started talking to a stranger. She told the other person her story — all her kids were coming into town for Thanksgiving, and she had no money to buy food for everyone. She started crying as she explained the situation, agonizing about how to provide for her family. She was suffering from extreme depression and suicidal thoughts as her situation just seemed too bleak. The other person had a fix — she pointed across the street to the House of the Harvest ministry where, at that exact moment, volunteers were handing out Thanksgiving dinner boxes for anyone who needed them.
The woman got to know Adam and Jennifer Walker, founders of House of Harvest, and they were able to help her with Thanksgiving dinner — and more.
“She stood in the doorway in our place, just weeping because she received a whole box, a Thanksgiving meal and groceries to feed her family for that week,” Adam said. “That lady ended up giving her life to Jesus, and she found a job through a connection she made at House of Harvest that morning.”
Roots of Harvest
Adam and his wife, Jennifer, started House of the Harvest in a school classroom at Sparkman Middle School in 2014. She was a science teacher, and he taught PE. It was a brutal winter; kids were out for snow and ice several times. For kids who don’t have food at home, this is disastrous. A church was already providing 40 meals for kids to take home over the weekend, but the need was greater in the Sparkman community.
“All these kids just started coming by her room to get food out of the pantry because they would be out of school,” Adam said. “They were really relying on the two meals they got at school.”
The need kept growing, so they enlisted the help of other teachers and churches to help fill the pantry.
“The whole thing just blew up from a little cabinet, then we moved to an extra classroom,” Adam said.
At one point they were even packing boxes of food and taking them to homes to help families.
“The families that we serve, we want to get to know them and really figure out how we can be there for them and support them,” Adam said. “… The food … opens the door for us to have opportunities to be able to connect to them on a relational basis. … Prayer, love, food, that’s what I tell people.”
The biggest change came in 2016, when the Harvest Fire Department was building a new station, so Adam met with them to talk about buying the old location.
They agreed to sell the location to House of the Harvest for a whopping $1.00, provided they kept handing out food to the community.
So they did. There are a lot of nonprofits that hand out food in the Huntsville area, but only a few that hand out food in the Harvest and Toney area.
“If I’m a single mom who is trying to work and support my kids, I don’t necessarily have two hours or the gas money to drive to Huntsville to get food help,” Adam said. “So the small community-type suburbs of Huntsville are really relying on places like us.
How To Get Help
Adam and Jennifer use the defunct fire station to hand out food on Saturday mornings from 7:30 to 9 a.m.
They’ve moved to Harvest Elementary School to utilize the drive-through line to minimize contact during the COVID-19 outbreak. They serve around 200 families each weekend.
“People can just pull up and get their groceries for the week and move on without having to interact with a whole bunch of people,” Adam said.
House of Harvest is open to anyone, no questions asked.