Edwards Street Fellowship Center expands, thanks to Asbury grant


A grant of nearly $275,000 will allow the Edwards Street Fellowship Center to build a new facility in Hattiesburg.


The grant of $274,964 comes from the Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg. The award was presented earlier this year and construction was scheduled to begin this summer.


The facility will be built at the former location of the Grand Affairs Bakery. The owner of the bakery sold the property to Edwards Street, and the building will be renovated and connected to the 4,500 square-foot new building.


The new building encompasses space for storage and distribution of food to low-income families, offices for staff and volunteer workers and a large meeting room for programming activities. The plan includes showers in the bathrooms, enabling the building to serve as a hurricane evacuation shelter or to house out-of-town volunteer groups. The 1,200 square-foot bakery building will provide kitchen facilities, a large room for dining and fellowship and storage space.


For 28 years Edwards Street has operated out of a church building, formerly the Edwards Street United Methodist Church, and the small frame parsonage next door to the church. However, the ministry has outgrown the facilities.


The Asbury Foundation’s funds are derived from interest on $35 million of invested assets which came from the 1997 sale of the nonprofit Methodist Hospital of Hattiesburg (renamed Wesley Medical Center) to Nashville-based for-profit Quorum Inc. William K. Ray, president of Asbury Foundation, says $14 million in grants and donations have been made since 1999 to nonprofit agencies in Mississippi.