By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
Seventeen years ago, Roxanna Trivitt left her corporate job to lead Shively Area Ministries. Within the first week, she faced a major crisis. The food pantry, which serves hundred of families in Southwest Louisville, was out of bread.
“I felt like everybody was looking to me, saying, ‘Lead us and show us what to do,’ ” Trivitt said during a phone interview Monday. “I didn’t know what to do but to pray. It wasn’t 10 minutes before someone pulled up in a truck and said, ‘I have all this bread.’ I don’t think I ever had a prayer answered that quick.”
Trivitt is still the charity’s executive director and she’s still leading it in the same “loaves and fishes” sort of way — with the knowledge that God is in control.
This month and next, she and the organization’s 26-member churches will mark SAM’s 25th anniversary with a couple of events — a service project and a benefit dinner.
They’re also hoping to conclude a three-year-long capital campaign. The ministry, which provides food, emergency financial aid and counseling to people in need, is about $39,000 away from its goal of $600,000.
They hope to reach that goal by Sept. 26, when the big celebration happens. It’s SAM’s annual benefit dinner and the public is invited to participate. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 830 Phillips Lane. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased by Sept. 18. It will feature The Monarchs.
But before that celebration, SAM and volunteers from the churches that support it — including three Catholic churches — want to do one more thing for the community: build a house.
The charity has raised the money and organized enough volunteers to sponsor half of a Habitat for Humanity House. Texas Roadhouse is sponsoring the other half of the house for a single mother and her children off Cane Run Road.
The kick-off — a “raise the roof” event — begins Aug. 22.
SAM has 216 volunteers for 18 days of building and Janice Fryrear of Mary Queen of Peace Church is organizing them all. Mary Queen of Peace, St. Lawrence and Incarnation churches are the Catholic members of SAM.
“We’ve had a really good response” from volunteers, said Fryrear, who has volunteered at SAM since it opened in 1988. “The whole community has taken this idea and run with it. We still have some dates (available) for people to do lunches.”
In addition to churches, DeSales High School and local businesses are providing volunteers, too, she said.
Fryrear also noted that it’s gratifying to see how SAM helps people in need. The woman who will live in the Habitat house, she said, was homeless a few years ago.
“You see someone hit rock bottom and see them pull themselves up,” she said.
She credits the people who work at and volunteer with the ministry for creating an atmosphere of help and hope.
“These people who work at Shively Area Ministries are the most caring, faithful people,” she said. “It’s just amazing. I’ve done it for 25 years and I’ve been blessed to be in this ministry. You can’t go there and work and not be touched.”
Ursuline Sister of Louisville Jean Anne Zappa, SAM’s development coordinator, said SAM aims not to provide a hand out, but rather a hand up.
“I’ve always been amazed at the gratitude people show for how we help them get back on their feet,” she said. “And I’m always amazed at their faith. Some of them have had a rough life.”
Zappa said the ministry has about 120 regular volunteers and seven people on staff. And all of them are dedicated to the ministry, she said.
“People really do see this as a ministry,” she said. “It’s a beautiful expression of what the Gospel is.”
Sister Zappa noted that SAM is serving more people than ever before, especially the working poor who have trouble making ends meet. She said last fiscal year, SAM served nearly 23,000 people in a variety of ways. The ministry sees about 30 to 45 families each day who need food aid.
She also said SAM couldn’t do any of its work without the help of grants and donations.
Local businesses, churches and families provide donations. And others provide grants, she said, including the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, Catholic Charities, Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
The SCNs will be among the organizations and families to be honored at the Sept. 26 dinner. Families being honored include the Daunhauer family, Guy and Libby Montgomery and Steve and Patti MacLaughlin. For more information or tickets, call 447-4330, ext. 23.