Grace Outreach Ministries: On the move, helping many

Robert Harris greets those who approach for help while Gladys Harris prepares boxes from their white GMC minivan. (Photo by Homer Fennell)


On a cloudy Sept. 30 afternoon, Gladys and Robert Harris, owners of Grace Outreach Enrichment Ministries got in their minivan for their daily ritual, providing food to people around Durham who need a hand.

Grace Outreach Enrichment Ministry is a nonprofit organization and ministry based in Durham. The founders, Gladys and Robert Harris received the distinguished 2016 Unsung Heroes Award from Spectacular Magazine. They have dedicated their lives to helping and serving through food and shelter.

Gladys Harris prepares a food box for a Durham resident. (Photo by Homer Fennell)

Gladys Harris prepares a food box for a Durham resident. (Photo by Homer Fennell)

People find them often through word of mouth.

When they deliver food, they also hand out a card and a letter encouraging recipients to pray and reach out to God. Frequently, they receive a call for help from someone who got their card from a neighbor or friend.

They receive calls almost daily, but even when they don’t have a specific call to answer, they drive through Durham giving out food. They don’t stop at a specific place though. They often just drive around looking for groups of people hanging out near dumpsters, a sure sign for them that people may be hungry.

“We see that we do make a difference and we love what we do.” Harris said.

They started this kind of ministry in New York, over 30 years ago. On Nov. 15, 2015 the ministry became incorporated. Harris said, “Back when we were in New York we just did this just to do it.”

As servants of God, it is the goal of the ministry to help others in their own way. “Once a month we cook for the community. We try to feed over a 100 people,” said Gladys Harris.

Often, they go and buy food, clothing, or other necessities for people with their own money. Other times, they receive donations. Panera Bread is a regular donor. At closing time, the Harris’s show up and receive the bread and pastries that have not sold that day.

When the Harrises arrive at the destination where the items get dropped off, smiles are on Durham resident faces.  One Durham resident, who did not want her name used, said, “I really don’t have a job. I’m almost out of options. But then I heard about Grace Outreach and it is a blessing that we have people who are willing to do this.”

Robert Harris preparing pastry sweets for Durham residents. (Photo by Homer Fennell)

Robert Harris preparing pastry sweets for Durham residents. (Photo by Homer Fennell)

While packing up to go to the next location another resident asked about the ministry. Harris gave a brief description of what Grace does, and also gave out a business card with a number to reach them.

Besides food, the Harrises are known around the community for providing shelter. They have taken in many families over the years that needed a place to live. They provide referral services to help those who need to find affordable housing options.

“Some of the children we took in still call us Nana and Papa, because we treated them as if they were a part of our family,” said Harris.

The ministry not only feeds the body, but also feeds the spirit. With every individual that gets a box of food, they included “The Daily Bread,” which is a small book that provides spiritual guidance and direction. According to their website:, the ministry believes that feeding the soul and spirit with God’s words is just as important as feeding our bodies.

“We are a church without walls,” said Harris. “We are asked to hold services outside.”

“By the Grace of God and the unfailing love of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are able to improve the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters in need.”

Grace can be reached on their home page at or by Elder Gladys Harris and Brother Robert Harris cell phone numbers for further information. They want to say to all, “May God bless and keep your family well.”

2 thoughts on “Grace Outreach Ministries: On the move, helping many

Comments are closed.