Lake Elsinore, CA, September 19, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- When 18 Wheels of Hope rides into impoverished places, trying to extend a hand of relief, there will be no doubt help is on the way.
The national company, 1-800-Great Ad, based in Lake Elsinore, Calif, $15,000 worth of design to the rig that transports food and other items to those in need.
Based in Blytheville, 18 Wheels of Hope, part of Harvest Time Ministries, got a facelift with breathtaking graphics on the sides of its 18-wheeler.
Dale Ruddick, pastor of Harvest Time, met Bret Mileski, the owner of 1-800-GREAT AD, and Ackland Media Frames, while performing a funeral for Ruddick's father-in-Law in California.
Ruddick and his wife Cindy had dinner with Mileski and his family, explaining what 18 Wheels of Hope does, and who it reaches.
He told him about the recent hurricane and tornado disaster relief work, and the annual trips to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky each Christmas since 1988 — 18 Wheels of Hope and its partners provide food, toys and ministry to 500-plus children, who likely would not have a Christmas otherwise.
It's estimated that one in four children they try to reach there go to bed hungry "several times a week," Ruddick said.
Mileski wanted to help with the relief effort, offering to design, make up and send the artwork at no cost.
"He said they wanted to be a part of what we were doing in the Delta and in the central part of the U.S.," Ruddick said. "He's a Christian man, his family is Christian. I guess I would call it divine favor. The Lord gave us favor. They're working with us and possibly are going to do some more work for us on some of the other vehicles, as well as possibly our building. They're becoming partners with us to help us do a better job in what we're doing."
18 Wheels of Hope currently procures and transports food to nine states, licensed in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana.
"We target extreme poverty areas as well as do disaster relief work," Ruddick said.
"Caruthersville, Mo,is one of the most recent and the closest area of relief work we've done," Ruddick said. "Anyone who has toured the area knows the devastation that was there. We hauled bob trucks there with milk and buckets and cleaning items, and we helped a family clean their lot off so FEMA could come in with a trailer."
The local pastor has also seen, first hand, the damage in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina.
Along with helping disaster areas recover, 18 Wheels of Hope supplements eight other food pantries, as well as other charities.
"Our job is to supplement other ministries in their area that are already working grassroots there," Ruddick said. "Our main job is to find bulk items, procure, transport it and deliver it to a grassroots ministry, anywhere in those nine states. We're a major part of the food pantry here, which is our grassroots operation. We bring in a lot of food through 18 Wheels of Hope, the Blytheville-Gosnell Area Food Pantry, Good Samaritan Ministries, St. Luke's Deliverance Soup Kitchen. This whole ministry is underwritten by partners, some of them individuals, some of them churches, some of them businesses, like 1-800 Great Ad."
One project the local food pantry has is the Platinum Pak program, which tries to reach the elderly who try to make ends meet on $500 or less a month.
"There are a lot of elderly people who go without food on a regular basis," said Ruddick, who is also the director of the Blytheville-Gosnell Area Food Pantry.
The program serves about 115 elderly, 62 or older, who try to pay rent and utilities and still find a way to buy groceries and medications on their fixed incomes.
"We would like to invite anyone who wants to become a part of the ministry, 18 Wheels of Hope, it belongs to everybody, anybody who wants to contribute," Ruddick said. "One of our greatest needs now is fuel money. The fuel cost of transporting the food is enormous. Diesel is almost $3 a gallon. A trip to Oklahoma City to pick up a load of donated items that's worth anywhere from $25,000 to $55,000 will run us about $750."
He noted a business, church or individual can sponsor a trip, and "they become a partner with us and the ministry belongs to them, as well as us. We're all working together to do what the Lord has given us a direct command to do."
Blytheville Courier News