Harvest Tyme Ministries in need of funding

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Harvest Tyme Ministries, a 510c3 organization located in Fort Deposit, is in need of funding and volunteers to aid in providing their services. 

The organization has been in business in Alabama since 1996 with a mission to provide healthier foods to residents in need along with local food processing, housing, job placement services, and camps for vocational training. 

Harvest Tyme’s services are available to all members of the community, especially those in school (both homeschool and public school), adults experiencing employment barriers, and farmers. 

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The organization currently services Lowndes, Jefferson, Butler, Montgomery, Macon, and Tallapoosa counties with hopes of expanding to the entire state.

Harvest Tyme has a few community projects, including the Vet Terrance Project, which is centered around caring for veterans who served their country and protected its citizens with honor and returning that honor back to them. 

Debbie Bryant, founder and president of Harvest Tyme, explained that the organization is different from other organizations in the area. 

“We do not duplicate services and we’re not doing anything that anybody else is doing. Yes, we give away food but as far as the educational part of it and the training we do here, there aren’t many services like ours in Lowndes County,” Bryant said. “We’re bringing services that aren’t here which is also creating jobs for members of the community. We’re not here to take anyone’s place.” 

Along with offering programs and other services, Harvest Tyme Ministries also helps by allowing others to use their building. The County Extension Service uses the building and this past Christmas, Toys for Tots utilized the space to give out toys to children in the community.

Bryant wanted to clear up a few assumptions citizens may have about nonprofit organizations as well and hopes the information will help encourage donors to provide much-needed funding. 

“We’re a nonprofit organization so everything we have, we have to bid for it,” Bryant said. “A lot of people think that just because we are nonprofit it means that everything is paid for but that’s not the case. We receive no allocations and although the things we receive are used heavily in the community, we get no funding in return.”

The organization’s services emphasize education and even with giving out food, organizers strive to cater to the need of education for special needs, autistic citizens, veterans, and farmers. 

After Covid, the organization lost volunteers and the funding they received decreased drastically. 

The lack of funding from the Town of Fort Deposit has led to the loss of one of the ministry’s buildings and the disconnection of water services in their current building.

Bryant described the struggle of trying to keep the organization afloat without adequate funding. 

“The only people, other than the Black Belt Foundation and the representatives, that really show us love is the county, even with the city knowing that we’re here and reaping the benefits in Fort Deposit,” Bryant said. “If it had not been for the county, our utility bills couldn’t even be paid.” 

The organization welcomes anyone who wants to come out and look at the place to do so. They are currently in need of volunteers to help with cleaning up and picking up the debris from the building damage. 

Bryant said she hopes that Harvest Tyme can start other services for students who are in school and going through a farming program. 

“I want to bring a petting zoo here where students will be able to come out, look at the animals and learn about farming,” Bryant said. “There’s also a simulation that goes with what I’m doing here.”

The organization has grown since beginning to give back to the community that it needs additional freezer space but does not have the funds to purchase one, a dilemma which is limiting the amount of food donations it can accept. 

Mattie Peterson, Harvest Tyme’s Outreach Food Coordinator, stressed the importance of the organization receiving funding. 

“Harvest Tyme is vital to the community because it is another way of obtaining food and other necessities that we give out from time to time. It’s important that we receive funds because that’s how we are able to keep this going,” Peterson said. “Even with nonprofits you have to pay for something. This organization has greatly impacted the community and with the prices of everything increasing, we are trying to help the community as best as we can but it’s not possible without funding.” 

For more information, visit harvesttyme.org. Donations can be made by calling 334-590-6620 or by mailing a check to Harvest Tyme Ministries located at 500 Airport Road in Fort Deposit.