It all started when...
I went to the drum circle with two of my friends one Friday night the summer of 2005. We had the idea to make S’Mores for them so the following week we hauled a BBQ grill out to the drum circle and shared these treats with those present. A few weeks after my first introduction to the drum circle I was back. This time with a small propane stove and some frying pans to make grilled cheese sandwiches. As the summer came to a close the drum circle went with it. I desperately began searching for ways to continue serving the friends I’d made on Friday nights. One day I was reading Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz and suddenly the answer was right in front of me. In his book, Miller writes about his friend Andrew the Protestor. Andrew lives in Portland, OR and he started serving breakfast to the homeless people right on the street. “Thats it!” I thought, breakfast in Pritchard Park on Saturday mornings is the answer. So the following Saturday I gathered up a group of friends from Montreat and we headed out early on Saturday morning bound for downtown Asheville. I’d spent an afternoon earlier in the week hanging up flyers and spreading the word about the free breakfast to folks all over Asheville. When we arrived at the park early on Saturday to my surprise there was already a small group of people waiting for some coffee and a hot meal. I’d managed to scrooge up enough money to buy some new equipment so we had a nice new stove to cook pancakes, eggs and bacon. That first morning we probably served about 30 people breakfast in the park. I saw many new faces and made some new friends along the way. It was just the start of a great new ministry and I knew God was leading my friends and I down an amazing new path in life a path designed to share his great love with the homeless people in Asheville. Today that mission, and that call continues. God has led me in new directions since founding LOT Ministries in 2005 but a part of me will always remember the times I spent in Asheville.
I became involved with LOT during the winter of 2009. I had heard of all the wonderful things that Adam Ripley was doing with LOT Ministries, but it wasn’t until my friend Burton Salthouse began directing the ministry that I became directly involved. When Adam decided to move on to other things, he asked Burton to take over. Burton had been involved for about a year prior to becoming the Director. Burton was a new Christian who was as zealous as the first Apostles about ministering to the poor and needy in our community. When I saw his zeal for the ministry, I decided to become involved – on a personal level. The two of us made LOT our first priority each week – from food prep to waking early to braving the snow, never missing a week for almost 2 years. It was a special time in our life as we ministered together and saw lives changed by the presence of the Holy Spirit that dwelt among us. Although running LOT ministries was difficult at times (and never paid a penny) it was worth all of the time, money and energy that we invested in it. After a few years of running the ministry, both Burton and I moved out of the area and handed over leadership to Liz Loop who has taken the torch and carried it with pride.
I started volunteering with Least of These when I was a freshman at Montreat College in Black Mountain. It quickly became my favorite part of my week and something I always had on my calendar. As I continued my education at Montreat, I continued helping out however I could. From Friday night preps to serving on Saturdays this ministry quickly became my life. IN 2011 during my junior year I was asked to take over leadership of the ministry. I knew instantly it was something I was being called to do. Leading LOT and serving every week hasn't always been easy but the journey has been amazing and I have loved every minute of it.
We currently serve over 5000 meals per year and distribute countless number of clothes, blankets, shoes and living essentials.
-Liz Loop, Least of These Director
Our Ministry Board...
Our board is made up of folks from a wide variety of churches that come together each week to serve the homeless community of Asheville. These folks work so hard behind the scenes to keep Saturdays running smooth. They help make snack bags on a Friday night, refill propane, bring the water and coffee needed and help plan fundraisers. They show up on Saturdays ready to love all those that come to eat and really bless this community with their passion and desire to love and serve.