Each month, LAMB House, a non-profit, 501C3 faith-based organization, provides food, clothing and assistance with rent, utilities and prescription medicine for several hundred residents of Camden County. Miraculously, it’s all done by one part-time employee and 80-some volunteers representing 10 different churches in the Lake area, and it’s all made possible by donations.

Each month, LAMB House, a non-profit, 501C3 faith-based organization, provides food, clothing and assistance with rent, utilities and prescription medicine for several hundred residents of Camden County. Miraculously, it’s all done by one part-time employee and 80-some volunteers representing 10 different churches in the Lake area, and it’s all made possible by donations.

Donated household items, toys, clothes, shoes and accessories are sold in the thrift store, which is open to the public. The proceeds from those sales are used to cover operating expenses – things like utilities, the manager’s salary and insurance. Donations of canned and dry goods, Conservation Department meat and Mennonite eggs stock the emergency food pantry. Cash donations are used in a variety of ways but 100 percent of all money goes back to the community.

“It’s really pretty incredible when you look at the numbers. We facilitate the Camden County Senior Citizen Tax Board. That board provides $55 vouchers each month for 250 seniors who live throughout the county and who are on food stamps, but everything else comes in through grants from local organizations or donations from the community,” said Pat Woodward, who has served as manager since 1994. “We’re pretty pleased that we’ve been able to provide so much help for our community all these years.”

Now LAMB House, which has been serving area residents since 1989, is asking for help from the community it has served.

Because the ministry needed more room to operate and more parking spaces than were available at its previous location on Illinois Street, last summer the board started looking for a new home. In November, they learned about a 4,849-square-foot vacant building on Morgan Street in Camdenton that was for sale. The facility, previously owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation, was larger than the one the not-for-profit organization occupied at the time and it included dozens more parking spaces.

The board prayed for direction and that’s when God stepped in and everything started falling into place. Another party that was interested in the building dropped out of the bidding process and as a result, MoDOT accepted an offer from LAMB House that was substantially below their asking price. With a donation from a community member who wished to remain anonymous, the sale of the building on Illinois Street and fiscally responsible planning and saving over the years, LAMB House was able to pay cash for the facility.

However, that drained the building fund dry so the ministry took out a construction loan to pay for the needed remodeling and improvements. Now LAMB House is asking the community to partner with the ministry to help pay off that $40,000 debt. Donations of all sizes are welcome and everyone who gives to the cause will have his or her name (but not the dollar amount) added to a donor appreciation wall inside the store, where it will remain as long as the building is standing.

“It will really be neat because long after we’re all gone, people will be able to come in and say ‘Look – Grandma and Grandpa helped pay for this building!’” Woodward said.

A sign showing the progress of the fundraiser is set to be installed by Saturday, April 21 – the kick-off of the fundraiser – in front of First National Bank in Camdenton. Donations can be made at the bank or at LAMB House, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon the first and third Saturdays of every month. As donations come in, the LAMB House lambs on the sign will be colored in. The goal is to raise the money in 90 days.

“It might sound impossible but we know that with God, all things are possible to those who believe. And we believe! We’ve seen God’s hand on this project every step of the way,” said Nancy Hogland, the chairman of the new building committee.

Treasurer Susie Fuhrer made one call to Tom Reft, the construction manager for Habitat for Humanity, to see if they might be able to help with some of the remodeling and they stepped in and did it all for free. LAMB House paid only for materials. Other contractors and suppliers offered deep discount on their products and services.

“We obviously had to spend $40,000 but without everyone coming on board to support the ministry, that number would be doubled,” Hogland said.

Board members agreed – the process was nothing less than amazing. They also agreed that although they could pay off the construction loan over time by using proceeds from the thrift store, they decided to involve the community so it would also be “their ministry.”

According to Woodward, that’s how LAMB House got its start.

“Betty McClure and several other ladies in the community knew of some families that were having a hard time making ends meet so they started gathering donations and stored the food in Betty’s garage. Then in 1989, that group of women, with help from David Lakebrink, who was pastor of Foundation Fellowship Church, convinced the Lake Area Ministerial Alliance that they should act as their ‘umbrella’ and they incorporated as Lake Area Ministries Benevolence (LAMB). The churches that were part of that organization agreed to provide volunteers and secure a loan to purchase a small house on Linn Street. Then LAMB House was on its own to pay off the mortgage,” she explained, adding that, at the time, LAMB House was the only outreach of its kind in all of Camden County. “So as you can see, when this got started, it was truly started by the community, for the community.”

Over the years, as the population grew and other community outreaches formed, the boundaries changed. However, the numbers have stayed about the same. Woodward said LAMB House still assists about 650 people each month. A scripture painted on the wall next to the entry sums up the ministry’s mission statement: “I was hungry and you gave Me food… I was naked and you clothed Me.” Matthew 25:35-36. The numbers show they’ve stayed true to that mission – and have even done more.

In 2017, LAMB House provided monthly food for approximately 4,300 people, who cannot receive food stamps for reasons other than “too much income,” and shoes, clothing and/or coats for 758 people. However, the assistance didn’t stop there. The ministry also provided help with prescription medications for 262 individuals; assistance with utilities for 468 and assistance with rent for 49. LAMB House also gave electric heaters to 28 individuals and purchased new shoes for 176 children through the Sue’s Shoes Program, which provides new school shoes for children whose parents can’t afford them. In addition, a crisis closet has provided blankets, towels, dishes, pots and pans and small household appliances for those who, for whatever reason, find themselves starting over with nothing.

Currently, the following churches provide volunteers who work in the thrift store/food pantry from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. one or more days per month.

Camdenton Community Christian Church

Camdenton United Methodist

First Baptist Church

Heartland Church

Lake Area Presbyterian Church

New Beginnings Baptist Church

New Home Baptist Church

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church

St. George Episcopal Church

Walk on the Water Faith Church

If your church would like to get involved or if you would like more information about the fundraiser, contact LAMB House at 573-346-2168.