- April 18, 2018
The year 2020 was one of change and growth for many.
For Ray and Bibi Peeples, it changed their lives forever. It was the year they decided to lend a helping hand to those who need it.
“So COVID brought out a lot of things — aside from the ministry — a lot of needs,” Bibi Peeples said. “We realized there’s a need … so we decided to start a ministry and by having the ministry we were able to do our own thing. … So here we are, two-and-a-half years later, and we are growing.”
A PLACE FOR PEOPLE
Since the initial idea sparked the minds of the Peepleses, the nonprofit organization — Ray Peeples Ministries — has become a place for people of the community to spend time among friends and neighbors while working toward aiding others — as the entire organization is run from the home of the Peeples family.
“We build these events, and I invite friends to come over to help us pack,” Ray Peeples said. “So sometimes, I invite too many people, because you never know who’s going to show up. … And here’s how we do it, you come to serve, you help us pack, we feed you.”
During its two years, the organization has been able to work with local addiction centers, children programs and food pantries such as Fresh Start Ministries, Edgewood Children’s Ranch, Orlando Rescue Mission and Wheatley Elementary School.
“Their needs are different,” Ray Peeples said. “When you work with Fresh Start Ministries, … their needs are more toiletry-based, not necessarily food. So a couple of times a year, I call and ask, ‘What do you need right now?’”
Fresh Start Ministries is an Orange County-based 12-month residential facility that provides assistance for people battling alcoholism and substance addiction. Its needs include supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, underwear, undershirts, socks and deodorant, Ray Peeples said.
Last year, the Peepleses — along with the help of family, friends and neighbors, packed more than 1,000 bags for Fresh Start. They have a dedicated room in their home to store all the items they eventually give back to the community.
“Every year, we add another organization,” Bibi Peeples said. “We started out with one, then grew to two. Now I think we have about four or five that we are a part of.”
Currently, the organization works with donation partners such as Target, Publix, Vigo Importing Company Inc., Hope Church Winter Garden and Faith Assembly of God Church, Orlando.
ENOUGH TO TOUCH YOU
The Ray Peeples Ministries nonprofit organization runs as a self-funded organization and with the help of donations from either members of the community or partnering organizations.
“When we started, we thought it would just be us funding this thing, this organization,” Ray Peeples said. “It all fell into place in about 90 days. … And then all of a sudden, donations started coming in from friends and family, and it has been a continuous thing. We’ll be out at a restaurant having dinner, and someone says, ‘Hey, you know, I saw one of your video messages that you did, and here’s $20.’ So it is an amazing thing right now, people are just kind of stepping into it, and we try to let people see exactly what’s going on.”
That is one of the most amazing things about the Peepleses — they show the community that every cent they offer to the organization is being put back into helping people in need.
Regarding expectations, the Peepleses are happy with how things are running at the moment. They believe that if the organization is meant to have a warehouse, God will provide one and the money that goes along with having one. For the time being, they are enjoying the benefits of operating from their own home.
“Today, if someone calls and says, ‘We need food for someone who is struggling,’ it’s easy — we can be responsive,” Ray Peeples said.
The organization’s core values are prayer life, serving others and blessing upon others.
These originated from the need to serve the Peepleses felt back in 2020, and Ray Peeples ministry opens a gateway for them to be able to do so.
“I am a licensed pastor, but I don’t run a church,” he said. “I do thinks like short videos, and they are just enough — with a little bit of Scripture, are just enough to inspire you, to get you to think a little bit different. I don’t try to drown people in Scripture and give them a 30-minute sermon — most of us don’t tend to pay attention for that long. But If I give you two to three minutes on Facebook or NextDoor … it is just enough to kind of touch you.”
One of the most unique things about Ray Peeples Ministries is the bags they pack always include something unique.
“We also try to give you things that you don’t expect,” Ray Peeples said. “We try to give you the lotions, the toothpaste, the toothbrush.”
Also, according to Bibi Peeples, Ray adds his own mark to each bag or backpack.
“That’s his thing,” she said. “Everybody expects the food, but when kids open the bags … some of the bag packs have novelty items (such as) Disney pins, a comic book — because he thinks outside the box, he’s like, ‘Kids are watching the movies,’ (so) let’s introduce them to the comic books, let them read (them).”
“It’s something that’s different that they don’t expect,” Ray Peeples said.
To prepare for the different seasons of the year, the organization usually runs two fundraisers — one during the month of March to support school Honor Roll, and the other one in September to support Thanksgiving and Christmas food distributions.