Tammy Bosecker continues her mother’s mission of helping people in Monroe City
By Bernie Schmitt
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.Romans 12:13
People in the small, rural community of Monroe City are helping their own this holiday season.
The Lord’s Warehouse sits adjacent to a lot left vacant when the Presbyterian Church was torn down. But the spirit of that church’s former pastor Jan Utt, and the spirit of giving to those in need, lives on.
It was nearly 30 years ago, in 1990, when Director Tammy Bosecker’s mother envisioned a way to help her fellow citizens. As pastor of the New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Jan Utt wanted to make helping people the mission of her church.
The Lord’s Warehouse has been in operation ever since, distributing food, clothing, household supplies, and sometimes other necessities to those in need of a helping hand. Though the church no longer exists, and Pastor Utt died in 2015, volunteers have continued her divinely-inspired mission.
“My mother always said that ‘we will never turn anyone away,’” Bosecker said. “That has resonated with me. We have never had to do that. We’ve always found a way to help people.”
Operating on a “shoestring” budget funded only from donations, the facility manages to pay its utilities and sometimes buy food and other things when needed. Its food pantry is stocked thanks to a monthly allotment from the Helping His Hands and the Bread of Life ministries. Clothing and other items are donated to the organization.
Volunteers sort and clean clothing, organize food and other items, for visitors who will arrive in time for the Warehouse’s 10 a.m. opening on Saturdays. The Warehouse’s food pantry is limited, so food is distributed just twice a month.
Anywhere from 35 to 50 or more people visit the Lord’s Warehouse each week, with most coming when food is available. There were 56 people served one Saturday in October. Adding up the monthly numbers of families aided by the charity, Bosecker said over 6,100 people were served in 2018.
“This is truly all by the design of God,” she said. “He has blessed this place to allow us to continue helping others. He always provides.”
When Jan Utt began planning for the Lord’s Warehouse, she sought help from other churches in Knox County. Bosecker says it is the community of churches (now eight or nine provide intermittent support), and the donations of many others, that keeps the Warehouse in operation.
There are 15 to 20 dedicated volunteers who help keep the Warehouse going. Considerable time and work is required to keep the facility organized, as donations arrive continuously. A large “work” room allows volunteers to sort out donated items, including boxes of used toys that volunteers clean and repair if possible.
“We could not do without our volunteers,” Bosecker said. “They do this out of the kindness of their hearts.”
When her mother fell ill about 10 years ago, Wilmas and Betty Adams kept the Warehouse going, spending hours of their time with other volunteers. Betty Adams served as the organization’s secretary for several years.
“They stepped up and worked every Wednesday and Saturday to continue this mission,” Bosecker said.
She credits her friends and volunteers, but volunteers are quick of offer their own praise.
Sometimes the pantry is empty
“There have been times when our pantry was empty,” said volunteer Juli Peach. “But Tammy never gives up or ever loses her faith that the Lord will provide. Something always happens and we have always been able to help people.”
Peach recalled a visitor to the Warehouse who turned out to be in a nasty mood one Saturday. Her anger (about something else in her life) spilled out towards Bosecker who remained calm. Other volunteers, including Peach, were upset about the incident and told the woman to leave. Volunteers told the woman she needed to apologize, but the woman left in a huff.
To their surprise, the woman returned to apologize after a few minutes. During this exchange the woman broke down and Bosecker held her hands and prayed over her, Peach said. Sometimes people need others to care.
As Director of the Lord’s Warehouse, Bosecker was honored this July with WTHI’s “Make a Difference” award. While her leadership and continuance of her mother’s mission was recognized, it is her faith, her love of community, and especially her mother’s memory that is most important to this servant of God.
“I still hear in my mind my mother’s ‘sayings’ of love for others as we are doing our work at the Lord’s Warehouse, and remember how she handled the daily operations,” Bosecker said. “For that I am truly grateful.”
The Lord’s Warehouse prepares special Thanksgiving boxes for the needy, too. This is in addition to its regular twice a month food distributions. The organization gives out 180 to 200 Thanksgiving boxes each year. For children, the Warehouse partners with the U.S. Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program, helping about 100 children receive toys at Christmas.
Stories of those less fortunate have touched Bosecker’s heart. One cold, rainy day a few years ago when she and others were handing out Thanksgiving food boxes, a woman who was cold, wet, and wearing only flip-flops, appeared in line. She had no coat, no shoes.
“It opened my eyes to her needs and the needs of others,” Bosecker said. “A lot of us have never experienced what it feels like to be in that situation or to depend on the help of others. The Lord’s Warehouse is a place that will always give to anyone in need.”
Tammy never gives up or ever loses her faith that the Lord will provide. Something always happens and we have always been able to help people.Juli Peach
The Warehouse was originally in a house next to the church. Later, it moved to a new space adjacent to it. In 2013 that space was enlarged. It now includes a walk-in refrigerator and a kitchen area where Bosecker hopes to one day provide hot meals on a monthly basis. The Lord’s Warehouse also wants to provide food allotments on a weekly basis. She hopes to one day also provide Christmas food baskets, too.
“One thing my mother and dad taught me by their example is to love the Lord with all my heart, and that it is better to give than to receive,” she said.