Bertha’s Mission Fulfilling A Command

(BEDFORD) – “For I was hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and he gave me drink: I was a stranger, you took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye come unto me.”

“These words spoken out of Matthew is not a suggestion, but a commandment,” Janice Nickeo-Pendergrass stated on Thursday afternoon.

Josh Carter fills a meal to go at Bertha’s Mission

The mission has been established is to empower people and meet their needs, but you must have a core group to fulfill that mission. Janice has taken the model of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – a theory, which puts forward that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. Janice says the needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can meet the needs higher up.

“Many try to recreate the wheel, but we must not reinvent the wheel but have the will to be able to attend to these basic needs,” Pendergrass acknowledged. “To overcome hunger, we must provide them dignity; treat them like family. No one is exempt from the possibility of being homeless, facing hunger, or issues surrounding both. Illness, loss of a job, and mental health issues can place a person in these situations.”

Bertha’s Mission is always needing volunteers.

The mission in Bedford still exists and in many ways, has increased over the last six years when Bertha’ Mission started. And the community is needed to help continue the mission, whether it be financial, or donations of canned goods. Churches and community members can be a part of committing to the mission.

State Farm Brent Maudlin Insurance is one of the organizations that is trying to get the community involved in donating canned goods. Donations will contribute towards the upcoming Community Thanksgiving Meal on Saturday, November 23rd from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Bedford located at 1515 20th Street.

You can find out more by contacting the following participating schools which are collecting items for Bertha’s Mission: Parkview Primary, Parkview Intermediate, Stalker and Fayetteville Elementary Schools.

The mission is in need of volunteers to make meal deliveries, financial contributions, non-perishable items such as paper towels, dish liquid, and tableware, lemonade, tea, canned goods, trash bags, 12 oz. coffee cups, and plates.

“Every year we try to evaluate our programs, make sure we are sufficient in providing their needs as well as make sure we are utilizing our financial resources responsibly,” Pendergrass continued. “Not only do we try to make sure they are fed, but try to work towards getting those in need integrated back into the community and making them productive individuals. We do not want to keep these people where they are at but continue to provide resources and training so they can progress.”

Each year, the organization’s needs fluctuate based on the economy, or health issues they may experience.

The hours of operation at the Community Kitchen, located at 512 Lincoln Avenue in Bedford, are Tuesday – Thursday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Pendergrass is hoping to expand those hours in the near future.

Homebound meals are also delivered by Joint Venture with TSI, Inc. This started on September 29th. Call 317-480-0085 to be added to the home delivery service.

You can send donations to Bertha’s Mission, P.O Box 1022, Bedford, Indiana 47421 or go online to and there are links where you can donate and find out more information about the organization.

Duke Energy donated $2,500 to Bertha’s Mission which was used to sponsor “Uncover Hunger” for the community Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations. Normally, they are more 700 in attendance and more than 300 meals delivered during those two events.

The hope this year is to reach more than 1,200 people during the Thanksgiving meal which is also supported by community leaders, churches, and local businesses.

“Without their support, we would not be able to accomplish what we have so far,” Pendergrass added.

Finally, on a solemn note, Bertha’s Mission lost a key player to their organization. Sandy Young passed away on October 14th.

Sandy Young

“I call her mother, she was a mother to our organization, my husband’s church at Lifeway Baptist, and a second mother to me,” Pendergrass commented.

“She was friends with my mother, did not know that at the time. But, we considered her our guardian angel. She comes along and did not tell us, what she was up to. But, she already knew what she was going to do and had a plan. She was the Mission’s biggest cheerleader and we miss her,” she continued wiping a tear from her eye as she described her friend. “She was loyal, true friend, dedicated and committed person to the core.”