ROSEBORO — The Beatitude House Ministry is just what the name implies. The ministry strives to live up to its motto “A Hand Up — Not A Hand Out” as it reaches out to people in need. Beatitude House has two locations, one in Cumberland County, located at 102 N. Main St., Spring Lake; the other here in Sampson County, at 212 W. Roseboro St., Roseboro.
The two ministry locations are operated under the wing of the New South River Baptist Association. Both locations are open Thursday through Saturday with the Beatitude House in Roseboro open from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday. The Cumberland location is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The Rev. David Willis, retired pastor, serves as the senior clerk for the Roseboro Beatitude House. Ironically, Willis was actually born in the same building that houses the ministry. The Beatitude House was built and founded as the Brewer - Starling Medical Clinic in 1937 by Dr. J. Street Brewer. It became the location of the first hospital found in Sampson County and that is where Dr. Brewer delivered Willis.
Willis explained that the ministry of the Beatitude House is different from other fields in which he has served.
“It still amazes me the number of people that come by Beatitude House in need. We do have a lot of people…families that we serve by providing clothing and food. But I am amazed by the number of people that come by and say, ‘Pastor I just came by because I need to pray with someone,’ or ‘I just need to talk to you about something spiritual.’ I see more people in that type of ministry need than I did in 20 and half years in the pastorate,” asserted Willis.
The two ministries serve two distinct cultures. Cumberland Beatitude House caters to a military-oriented culture while the Roseboro location serves a culture that is agricultural and addresses the high concentration of migrant workers located with Sampson County.
The ministry, although in two locations, seeks to better utilize resources that are available for the glory of God in service to those who are in need. Willis also pointed out that many feel that they cannot shop at the store if they are not low income.
“We have a number of people that are collectors to come in and see the items we offer. Others come in looking for a bargain. We have a lot of one-of-a-kind items, especially in dinnerware and knick-knack,s that those who collect different items might be interested. You do not have to be low income nor Baptist to shop at our store. Everyone is welcome regardless of income or religious affiliation,” stressed Willis.
The clerk emphasised that Beatitude House does not sell food. “We give food to those in need. On the first request a general information sheet is filled out for our records and after that a letter of referral is requested from a pastor that knows the family situation. This is the only requirement. There is no minimum income requirements or anything of that nature. The only requirement is just a genuine need,” remarked Willis.
A flier for Beatitude House explains the history of how the ministry began: from a man in a grocery store who saw two other men cash their payroll checks, with each recieving $168. The man observing thought about how such a small amount of money would be spread so thin trying to pay for rent or mortgage, utilities, clothes and food for their families and wondered how someone could help them stretch their paycheck and have a better lifestyle. From that observance, the motto for Beatitude House arose. The non-profit ministry offers tax deductions to the donors and the Beatitude House developed into a ministry of helping people and treating them as equals.
Willis explained that volunteers were the backbone of the ministry.
“We have about 52 names on our volunteer list that donate a variety of time to the Beatitude House. Those who volunteer serve about 80 volunteer hours per week. Each month we receive on average 30 donations. We give three Bibles away, help two families with food and assist two families with clothing in addition to the store,” stated the former pastor.
For anyone wishing to volunteer, Willis explained that it does not mean they have to work the entire day nor is it a boring experience that requires great effort. It is a commitment that can be changed if circumstances arise for the volunteer.
“Volunteering does not mean you will just have to work at the store. We have volunteers who do sewing repairs at home, some crochet clothes for dolls, others assist in moving merchandise that in not usable. Volunteers can be all ages and sizes. We have volunteers from 12 to 70 plus. Remember, volunteering is ministry,” asserted Willis.
Beatitude House has three paid employees that work each week to provide for the public. All funds received go back into the ministry to keep it self-sufficient and, if any remains, it is returned to the ministry of the New South River Baptist Association.
“I have never been in a situation like this before,” remarked Willis. “I am able to minister to people anytime and right here. It is a different ministry that is very much hands on. It is very rewarding to be able to assist people in need. When you hand a child a can of corn and see the smile that comes across his face knowing that he holds his dinner in his hand, words cannot express how it makes you feel,” said the clerk.
Willis explained that often the ministry serves those who have experienced a loss such as a home destroyed by fire. We will give each member up to four days of clothes, food to keep them going for several days. Most anything they need that is available in the store is given to them at no charge to help meet their needs.
“We also help many people that may have experienced a loss involving a loved one, a job or some other situation that just involves being here for them. It is a blessing for them and it blesses us as well,” expressed Willis.
The Beatitude House holds four clearance sales each year. They call them the 39 Cents Sale.
“We offer the 39 Cents Sale each quarter to clear out that season’s items and make room for next season’s items. Basically everything is $0.39 with the exception of electronic items,” shared Willis.
The next 39 Cents Sale is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 2-4 during regular hours.
Willis encourages anyone looking for a bargain to come visit the store and for anyone in need to stop by for assistance.
“We strive to follow the work of Jesus in Matthew 5:7 that reads, ‘Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.’ (NIV), as we do God’s ministry here at the Beatitude House,” asserted Willis.