Behold I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth. Shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19 KJV
Good Shepherd Center was founded and began serving its communities in 1986 as The Monroe County Benevolence Ministerial Fund, an emergency crisis center that offered food and clothing to residents in need.
Registered with the State of Tennessee and recognized as a 501 (c) (3), the volunteer-driven organization was created by area pastors and church members who identified a serious need to minister to those who were in immediate financial crisis, those experiencing sudden or unexpected hardship caused by insufficient funds and resources.
For almost forty years, we have kept our doors open to those who needed us. We have continued to minister, nurture, nourish and assist the working poor, people on disability, families in crisis, individuals working to stay in recovery, school children – the wide diversity of Monroe County neighbors who need a helping hand, while encouraging them to reach toward self-sufficiency.
Support services are rendered to current residents today who come to GSC to request food, clothing or household assistance such as help with utility bills or school supplies.
For us to reach out to our Monroe County neighbors, Good Shepherd Center is supported by public grants and gifts from churches, private donors and businesses, and fundraising. With our core of faithful volunteers and donors, we work hard to ensure children are well nourished, seniors live in dignity, families can withstand hard times, and that members of our community in stress can still have access to fresh, healthy food, warm clothing and basic human needs.
Now to our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Philippians 4:20
Standing in the gap during a hard season
“During a really tough two-year season of a loss of all our income, the Good Shepherd Center, and especially, Miss Tina, were unbelievably kind to my wife and me,” Iraqi and Afghanistan war veteran Col. Paul states candidly.
Good Shepherd Center stood in the gap for this Monroe County resident, one of our country’s most faithful US Army career officers, when, for a window of time, well-earned and lawful compensation was held up.
“But once we got through our season of doing without, and things were straightened out and our income was restored, God showed me now I had to help my fellow man as I had been helped. The Good Shepherd Center was there when nobody else was. They were there when we had nothing. And now that season of lack is over, and I do have something, I have to give back – that was a commandment from God.”
In need of service after a lifetime of service.
After a 37-year career as a US Army pilot (Ov-1 Mohawk high altitude twin-engine turbo prop observation plane and UH-Huey helicopter, among others) with 6 tours in Iraq and 3 tours in Afghanistan, Col. Paul retired in 2012 from the military. Like other highly trained and accomplished Army officers, he returned to the Middle East, working as a supervisor for a US military contractor.
“While serving with the government contractor (during a time when the pandemic made health care harder to access) I had a stroke so severe I ended up on a gurney for three days.” Col. Paul soon returned stateside back to civilian life. A series of financial turnarounds after investments in several businesses (tourist cabins and a convenience store) - and then a hold-up in receiving his retirement pension left Col. Paul and his wife with nothing.
“Absolutely nothing for two long years, living hand to mouth.”
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
This is where Good Shepherd Center stepped in to help.
“Good Shepherd Center is a good organization,” Col. Paul attests to. “They really care about people. Anybody who comes in. They don’t care about your past. They care about you – as a person.”
Col. Paul and his wife are not physically able to volunteer, but they are committed to being faithful financial donors and are also always ready to meet specific requests whenever there is a special need. Like the year he and his wife contributed turkeys and hams to the Center one holiday.
“They ended up not having enough to feed everyone who showed up for a hot Thanksgiving meal that holiday. It was our privilege to help out. It was God’s doing. My wife and I were just the middleman,” Col. Paul says.
“It’s so simple if people would just listen to God. I do what God commands me to do – and that is giving money and food to Good Shepherd Center as He directs. Because He knows what’s needed and when it’s needed.”
None of us know when our predictable life can be thrown by harsh turns in our journey. Col. Paul is a walking reality of the vision for Good Shepherd Center, where those who are blessed return to become those who bless others.
Speaking into a better life.
Providing a better way.
The mission of the Good Shepherd Center is to speak into lives with compassion, respect and dignity, providing a better way to meet a core of essential needs and other ministry support to our struggling Monroe County neighbors – while encouraging them to reach for self-sufficiency.
Preparing a table of goodness & mercy
Good Shepherd Center takes its name from King David’s beloved Divine portrait of The Good Shepherd, who cares for the 99 + 1, who comforts, protects, guides and provides for His flock, who prepares a table for those under His watchful care. We strive to model this portrait to ultimately be a blessing for better times ahead when they themselves can give and bless others.