Everett church’s ministry includes but is not limited to bread alone

EVERETT — On the first Saturday morning of each month, people line up outside the Bailey African Methodist Episcopal Church on 12th Street.

Georgina “Genie” Paul, 67, has been running the north Everett church’s bread ministry since the early 1990s. Paul grew up in Everett along 100th Street SE, which used to be called Jordan Road.

On Aug. 2, Paul carefully counted the folks in line, about a third of them children.

She worked out the math, making sure everyone got an equal share of the donated bread, pastries and other items.

Before the day’s bread ministry, Paul spent time with the gleaners, who collect and redistribute food that would otherwise get tossed by grocery stores, restaurants and local businesses. The term gleaner comes from the Bible, when the poor combed or “gleaned” farming fields for missed grain after harvest.

A pair of gleaners based in Lake Stevens stopped by the church to drop off goods before the Aug. 2 bread ministry. The church volunteers and the gleaners held hands for a quick prayer.

Paul gave thanks for blessings, of the past and the future.

“We just pray for healing in all of our families,” she said, head bowed, eyes closed.

Gleaner Shirlee Walter, 57, of Lake Stevens, hugged and kissed each person in line before she left.

“It makes your heart feel good,” Walter said.

Many of those who come to get the bread speak Spanish, Russian, or German, Paul said. When there’s no one to translate, the church volunteers communicate with hand gestures, Paul said.

Angela Hough, 46, of Everett, was volunteering at the ministry, but she also has been a client, she said.

“They’ve really helped me in a tight situation,” she said.

When it’s cold and wet, people wait on a church pew set up in the basement, where the bread ministry takes place, said volunteer Mattie Butler of Everett.

Everett couple Jaona Ravelonanahary and Lisy Rasoanatoandro also provide free Bibles in multiple languages from Gideons International.

On Aug. 2, as the ministry wrapped up, a small girl in red canvas sneakers sat on the piano bench and played a song of her own creation.

Her mother hugged and thanked Paul.

“We’re always here,” Paul told her.

Go to church

Bailey African Methodist Episcopal Church at 2908 12th Street hosts a bread ministry for those in need from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of each month.Sunday services start at 11 a.m. The church also is used for services by the local Ukranian community at 3 p.m. Sundays.Everyone is welcome at the church and the bread ministry.For more information, go to www.baileyamechurch.com or call 425-252-9447.

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