Beginning FHFH With God
by Rick Wilson, FHFH’s Founder and First “Chapter Coordinator”
It was an early morning in September 20 years ago when I encountered a lady who asked me to help her load a road kill deer into the trunk of her vehicle so she could feed her hungry children. After that encounter I prayed and felt led to start a ministry to feed the hungry. God then provided two local butchers who would process donated deer at their cost, and I realized I needed HELP! I asked, Ray Shriver, my pastor of 20 years, if I could begin organizing God's venison feeding ministry through our church. He suggested several options, and then invited me to come share the idea with our church leadership.
After getting approval to work through our church along with some seed money from the congregation, the word of our feeding ministry spread rapidly. As we began receiving deer during Maryland’s archery season we soon began falling behind. By the end of October, we had depleted the initial funding allocation along with $500 from Pastor Shriver's discretionary fund and we were $716 in the red! I stayed after church one
Sunday to share this financial need with Pastor Ray. I was hoping that he would say as he had before, “Here’s some money from my discretionary fund,” but instead, he said, “Let’s pray.” That was not what I wanted to hear! After sharing our need with the Lord, I set about trying to figure out how to raise $716.
A couple of days later Pastor Ray called and asked if I could stop by his office after I finished teaching school that day. When I arrived he handed me an envelope and invited me to open it. As I unfolded a check for $700 from a total stranger, I was ecstatic! I’ll never forget Ray’s joking comment, “God’s math is not perfect, but it’s close enough for me to know that He is with us.”
Two days later he called me again. In a somewhat unsure voice he said, “Can you stop by my office after school?” Upon arriving, he handed me another envelope containing a check for the remaining $16. Still a little shaky, Pastor Ray said that his earlier days in sales and personnel management taught him a great deal about numbers and probability. He then asked God to forgive him for questioning His math. At that point my Best Friend God, Pastor Shriver, my close friend Al Schlotterbeck and I began praying to expand the new ministry.
Al has been like a ‘second dad’ to me since the mid 1950’s when I began crossing through a couple of neighbors’ yards to shoot archery with him. Having a ‘second dad’ became very important at this time. My father who had been my best hunting and fishing buddy since I was about 6 years old had suffered a series of strokes that summer leaving him in a coma. I kept Dad up to date on our growth by visiting him regularly at the nursing home to describe the progress and pray with him.
After two hunting seasons the ministry outgrew the church, so we established FHFH as a separate non-profit organization. Twenty years later, FHFH has grown from its humble beginnings in Washington County, Maryland with one coordinator and a small dedicated group of individuals to a national organization. We now have 125 Chapter Coordinators in 29 states and the District of Columbia who are united with one mission - feeding the hungry among us.