The Agape Ministry, Inc. has been providing food and supplies since 1973.
The Agape Ministry, Inc. (TAM) was begun through the efforts of Mrs. Earline Phillips. Her desire was a ministry which would provide emergency assistance in the form of food, clothing, and very limited financial assistance. TAM was to serve people from within the northeast quadran of San Antonio. She began working towards this ministry in early 1998. The Agape Ministry held an open house on January 17, 1999 and opened its doors the very next day. When TAM started out it operated 3 days a week, and it is now open 5 days a week.
In order to get TAM established and operational, Mrs. Phillips visited a number of churches within the proposed area to present her concept and solicit support for the ministry. She discussed her vision with the pastors of the churches she visited, made presentation to the organizations within those churches, and was successful in obtaining pledges of support from nine area churches. She was also successful in getting one of those churches to provide adequate space for TAM's operation, and another church to provide storage space for out-of-season clothing.
In order to get TAM "off the ground" initially, it was necessary to get facilities, furniture, clothing racks, a computer for record keeping, legal advice for setting up the corporation, etc. Mrs. Phillips made contacts within the business community to obtain donations of these items and legal advice.
As a result, TAM began operation with the necessary equipment, a properly written and legally executed set of bylaws, a functioning board of directors made up of representatives from the nine participating churches, and enough volunteers to make the operation a success from the beginning. Over time, TAM's network has expanded to the point where there are now 22 churches supporting the corporation.
To ensure that TAM would be able to operate in the most efficient manner, Mrs. Phillips visited many of the other agencies in San Antonio that provide similar services to observe their operations, their methods of client interviews, and their guidelines for amounts of food dispersed to families of varying sizes. She also made arrangements with the San Antonio Food Bank for TAM to purchase food items at greatly reduced costs. Since TAM began operating, it has developed a relationship with many of these other agencies for the purpose of obtaining additional assistance for its clients. These other agencies include the Community Assistance Ministry (CAM), GRASP, the Randoplh Area Community Assistance Program (RACAP), the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Salvation Army, the San Antonio Community of Churches, Helping Hands Lifeline, Wesley Community Centers, as well as CAP North, CAP East, and CAP West.