Finding Food and Restoration at Healing Waters

Healing Waters is located in a rural, nondescript strip mall outside of Little Rock, but when you walk inside, the space feels like a welcoming Southern home. Exposed brick, a collection of small tables, fresh flowers, and warm bread create an ambiance that is immediately welcoming. Pastor Robert Holt makes it clear that this is by design, saying “we want the whole place to feel like when you come in your home…no matter who comes in, they had better know that love is in the house. Everybody’s welcome and everybody’s loved on.”

Pastor Robert Holt meets with Project Manager Buck Buchanan and volunteers in their welcoming Shannon Hills location.

Healing Waters is not a church, but is instead of non-denominational outreach center. As Pastor Holt describes it, “we are a real mission that is not separated by oceans.” The all-volunteer ministry at Healing Waters serves about 26,000 people a year under the umbrella ministry of L.O.V.E.—Let Our Violence End—which started in 1994. Healing Waters works with local nonprofits like Our House and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as with companies like FedEx, Wal-Mart, and Edwards Food Giant, who donate food and products to Healing Waters for distribution to those in need in the community. For instance, Little Caesar’s donates about 600 pizzas a month to Healing Waters.

Buck Buchanan reviews recent data on the number of people served by Healing Waters in a morning meeting with Pastor Holt and volunteers.

Although Healing Waters is not a church itself, it does partner with Little Rock churches like Calvary Baptist Church, who provides volunteers and food for a community meal every second Sunday of the month. In March, 2018, they served 240 meals on a Sunday afternoon. Healing Waters serves as a food hub for Little Rock, with many organizations in the community coming to them when they have food to donate or when they know of a need to be met.

Although feeding the hungry is central to the mission of Healing Waters, they also host an on-site store where people in need can shop with $30 of credit for household goods and toiletries, provide staffing services to help people find employment, mentor children with incarcerated parents, and have a community garden. There are about 125 volunteers at Healing Waters, and about 20-30 of them are full time.

Pastor Holt invites people to come see what Healing Waters is all about at their location on 14036 Sardis Road in Shannon Hills. “We need volunteers every day” he says, and they welcome donations of food, money, and time. Those interested in helping can contact Pastor Robert Holt at r-kholt@att.net.