Vine of Faith
story by Michaela Miller
On the walkway into Martha's Vineyard on North 32nd Street in Paducah, crucifixes speckle the walls that lead to a painting of a cross wrapped with grapevines.
"My people are the grapes," says Martha Bell, 76. "We are the vines who help them climb upwards and closer to God."
Martha woke up in the night 27 years ago and decided she wanted to help people in the community of Paducah. She is now the owner and manager of Martha's Vineyard, a food pantry that is staffed by volunteers who stock the kitchens of disadvantaged people in the community. Martha, who has been widowed for 29 years, started the mission two years after the death of her husband, Charles.
"Everyone thought I was out of my tree when I wanted to start a mission here," says Martha. "But there wasn't one here until I started it, and we are still going today."
The pantry is funded by individuals and companies of the city. Martha directs volunteers for the pantry, preparing meals to deliver twice a week to elders and shut-ins in the area.
"They are my little people," says Martha. "I think of them like family."
Martha is relocating the pantry to North 12th Street to serve a community with a greater need. She hopes to have the building remodeled and open by Christmas.
"I just follow directions that God gives me," she says. "We might not be the richest, but we are rich in what we do."