AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - "...love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." John 13:34.
It's a simple bible verse that instills a way of life for those at Auburn United Methodist Church.
"At first we thought we were showing God's love, but honest to goodness they are showing us love," explains Reeder Dulaney of Auburn United Methodist Church.
In the fall of 2000, Dulaney and Shirley Rose Glisson opened the doors of AUMC's food pantry to help provide emergency assistance to hungry families in Lee County.
"That first Friday morning, we had six visitors and we were so excited," says Dulaney.
Nearly 14 years later, six visitors has turned into 78 families they are helping feed each week.
AUMC's food pantry is the second largest agency in Lee County and in 2013 they helped over 1,700 families keep food on the table.
"We're glad that the church is here to help. We have a wonderful and generous church, but we're sad that there are that many hungry families," explains Dulaney.
AUMC funds 25 percent of the pantry and the other 75 percent relies on donations.
They received over 250,000 pounds of food from the East Alabama Food Bank each year.
"There are people in our community that with needs and there's a way for us to reach out and help and we want to be a part of that," says volunteer, Shannon Sawyer.
The Sawyer Family is one of dozens of volunteers that helps out at the AUMC pantry and will soon be delivering food to those in need.
Instilling the value of helping the less fortunate is what Sawyer hopes to convey to her three daughters.
"They like helping others and I like to encourage them to do that and it proves them an opportunity to be hands on," says Sawyer.
"We've had people come in and run out and start crying because they've never had to ask for help and my mission is not for them to feel ashamed, for them to know God wants to help them," explains Dulaney.
The AUMC food pantry is open Thursdays and Fridays.
To qualify for their services you must bring a picture ID, proof of residency in Lee County and meet the USD poverty standards.
Donations and volunteers are always welcomed.