The Rest of the Story-February Partner Newsletter Article 1
True Love Reflected in Good Works
Carl and Betty Hartman, Seventh Day Adventist Church Distribution
“Everyone who knows Carl, loves Carl,” said Betty Hartman about her husband. “We’ve always loved people. Carl spent 47 years as a (Seventh Day Adventist) Pastor, showing love for our congregation…it’s so natural, to love people and want to do something for them,” An array of awards, certificates and a trophy in their living room indicates lives invested in service.
Carl and Betty grew up near Reading, PA, in a town of 200 people. “We were high school sweethearts,” said Betty. “But I was a senior and he was a sophomore. I robbed the cradle!” Betty gleefully cried. “We went to a Halloween party…we learned about a new game…you know, Post Office. You don’t even know those games do you? They were kissing games. Carl and I got interested in each other, and we courted for four years before we tied the knot,” They married on 12/27/1951.
Carl and Betty Hartman have led the Andrews Seventh Day Adventist Church Produce Distribution at the Andrews Recreation Center for ten years, organizing at least 100 distributions. According to Carl, “In 2006, Viva Pizer of MANNA came here to a meeting with ministerial leaders. It seemed right up our alley, because she was mainly interested in a produce program, once a month,” said Carl. Carl rose to the challenge. He was a retired Pastor and saw this as another way to continue to help others. Andrews was, and is, an underserved area, and MANNA increased food resources by initiating a Community Distribution of produce. This Agency Partner still fills the need today. While it is open to the entire community, the Seniors especially are passionate about the value of this pantry. One woman shared, “This produce is the only fresh food I get all month. Bless you for doing this for us.”
Carl and Betty are a matched set who work together to ensure fresh food is delivered to people in need. But in June 2015, Carl broke his hip and suffered a stroke. He was in bed for weeks. Betty “decided” that she wanted some of that bed rest so she broke her hip in October. His injury was to his left hip, hers was to her right, so they can lean on each other during this recovery period. Carl’s speech is not coming back well yet but they are both up and around. Though they have reduced their time volunteering with MANNA, they still guide the work. In 2015, Seventh Day Adventist Church Distribution distributed more than 15,000 pounds of food, mostly produce and bread, to the community. Additionally, “Debbie and Howard Brown donate frozen trout from their fish farm every time. So generous. They open up their business and offer us as much as we need,” said Betty. “Up until (June 2015), Carl went to many places, advertised in many places. I still get on the radio the week of (the distribution) and put an article in the paper, in the Andrews Journal,” said Betty.
Despite the health challenges, Carl and Betty started something new last week: Cooking classes. They serve three soups from 6 – 7 PM at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Andrews, followed by one hour of Bible study. According to Betty, “The text is mostly generic, something any Christian would love to study.” While vegetarianism is not a tenet of their faith, approximately 40% of the people of their faith are vegetarians. “We honor the Lord with our bodies as well as spirits. If we know that a lot of meat is not good for us, we don’t eat it. A lot of people see the good fortune of being caretakers of our bodies and treating them as well as possible.”
Volunteers from numerous churches and organizations participate. Some of special note are, from Seventh Day Adventist Church, David Barnes, and Raymond Denton who Betty calls the “Numero Uno volunteer!” Jim and Caroline Rogers of Valleytown Baptist have been helping almost as long as Carl and Betty. The Masonic Lodge of Marble carries banana boxes and arranges produce regularly, and the Murphy High School boys’ gym class comes a couple of times a year to carry groceries for clients. “The boys really enjoy it,” said Betty. “They are here to help others.” The Hartmans have developed deep friendships with the volunteers. “They’re there to help God’s people with every bit they can,” said Betty. She went on to compliment the clients, many of whom are Seniors with walkers, wheelchairs or canes. “They appreciate it so much. They’re happy with it, whatever it is. They never complain, ‘You don’t have so and so’ or ‘There’s not enough’. They are so grateful.”
“This work opened me up to a new love for other people,” concluded Betty.