On The Cover
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe '96
concludes his official visit to Vietnam
on Dec. 18, 2012.
2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards
The Success of the Barry Athletics Model
Campus Democracy Project
Spring 2013, Volume 18, Number 1
Voices Not Heard
Ronae Cambridge ’10 found her ‘life’s work’ feeding Miami’s hungry and ministering to those in need.
By Jeff LaLiberte
It is still dark at 5 o’clock on a Thursday morning, but a line has already formed in a deserted lot on 22nd Avenue in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood. A young woman just arriving takes her place near the end of the line; she seems ready to wait. “My husband and I have been unemployed for over a year,” says the 26-year old, who prefers not to give her name. “We don’t like having to do this, but thank God for the people here.” The young woman and the others in line are all there for one purpose and one purpose only — to ensure their families are fed for the week. This is where Ronae Cambridge, a woman who is a complete stranger to many of them, touches their lives on a daily basis. Cambridge is the pastor and founder of Glory Temple Ministries, a worship center in Miami with a mission to offer relief to the less fortunate and, ultimately, help them to better their lives. The organization accomplishes this goal in a number of ways, but the chief operation at Glory Temple Ministries is the food bank where every Thursday, come rain or shine, Cambridge and a group of volunteers work from sunup until sundown to distribute boxes of crackers, loaves of bread, fresh fruit, and other foodstuffs to needy families in Miami-Dade County. “This is the most important work I’ve done in my life,” Cambridge said. “I worked in the legal field for 33 years, dealing with people who had means. Now, I work for those who’ve been overlooked.” In 2000, she and her husband, Franklyn, founded Glory Temple Ministries as a small operation that served hot meals at the conclusion of worship sessions.
“We founded the Ministries because of the need we saw in the community,” she said. “We wanted to bring healing to the public.”
After retiring from her job as a paralegal in the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office in 2005, Cambridge says she knew it was time to take the next step toward meeting the needs of the community by founding the Ministries’ food bank. When it began in 2007, it served a few participants a month; today it serves more than 3,200 people each month. While growing the ministries, Cambridge complemented her service work by earning a pair of degrees at Barry. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in liberal studies in 2010 and enrolled in Barry’s Master of Social Work program soon after. The program, she says immediately felt like home to her, and her experiences here moved her deeply. “The compassion I witnessed by the professors and students in Barry’s social work program blew me away,” Cambridge said. In order to secure food items for the vast amount of people the ministries serve, Cambridge works with a number of organizations, including Kraft Foods’ Mobile Pantry program, Feeding South Florida, CHASE Bank, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These groups contribute weekly by delivering fresh fruits and vegetables, non-perishable canned and boxed items such as corn, beans, rice and various fresh baked goods, such as muffins and bread. With such generous donations from partners, one would think that there would be plenty of food to go around. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. “We always try to make sure everybody gets something,” Cambridge said. “But we have had to turn people away at times.” Every Thursday, the Ministries dispense approximately 9,000 pounds of food, with those that qualify receiving about 60 pounds of food per family unit.
The Ministries is a member of the USDA’s Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which supplements the diets of low-income and needy people. A national program, TEFAP identifies needy individuals, and refers them to Cambridge’s ministries. Other patrons who receive food at Glory Temple must fall below the poverty threshold as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (net monthly income under $1,838 for a family of four), or meet guidelines established by the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, or Medicaid. While the food bank is the most direct form of assistance provided at Glory Temple Ministries, the organization stretches its hands into the community in a number of other ways. Other services include after school initiatives, such the Grand Diva program, which assists grandmothers raising grandchildren; the senior program, which ensures food for poverty-stricken elderly; and a program that offers free medical testing, including HIV/AIDS testing as well as blood pressure and glucose screenings. “We strive to meet all of our patrons’ needs,” she said, “from the basic to the most advanced.” Though Cambridge is the founder and pastor at Glory Temple Ministries, she is not alone in her determination to feed the impoverished of South Florida. Each week, she is joined in her efforts by a small army of more than 30 volunteers, some of whom understand the distress of being hungry. “Giving back to the community is what the Lord has asked us to do,” said Mary Doster, a five-year volunteer at Glory Temple Ministries. “When I was hungry, He fed me. Now it’s my turn to give back.” Like Doster, Cambridge and the other volunteers are ever mindful that they, too, may need assistance in the future; they say they live each day knowing that “their salvation lies with the work they do for others.” Fittingly, these notions, of giving and accepting help, are two of the ministries’ founding principles.
“I do this for those whose voices are not heard,” Cambridge said. “If they scream they’re hungry, who will listen? That’s what we’re here for — to give those people a voice.”