ELIZABETHTOWN — A local man has made it his mission and ministry to give back to the community that gave so much to him and his family when he was growing up.
Hubert Horne, founder of I AM Inc., said the inspiration for his ministry was his upbringing. He said he grew up in a home where his father worked, but earned very little.
“I don’t know that I would have made it without the community,” said Horne. “I feel like I owe the community. I’m trying to give back to the families that helped me.”
Horne said he left home in 1959 at just 17 years of age and went to work in a world in which he was unfamiliar. He said he prayed for direction in his life.
Upon retiring, Horne said he returned to Bladen County and prayed to Christ again, asking for his guidance.
“When I came home, I went from church to church to talk to them (about a community garden),” said Horne.
He said while everyone was kind and listened to his presentation, no one actually came out to help. Horne said that he feels there is a town somewhere that can benefit from his labor of love. He said the community garden grows vegetables for folks to use.
When asked where he got his passion and inspiration from, Horne said simply, “the Lord.”
“You have to read the story of the True Vine (in the Bible). You have to let Christ either choose you or not,” said Horne.
Horne said he has planted fruit trees on a lot at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and N.C. 87. He said that he plans to give the fruit trees away and they are a reminder of the Biblical principles.
“You are here to bear fruit for Him. We’re supposed to be Christ’s disciples,” said Horne.
Horne said he gets a joy and satisfaction out of helping others. As part of his ministry to others, Horne has been providing free meals and haircuts to individuals each month with the help of Glenda’s Just Desserts and Lunch, located at 315 Martin Luther King Drive, and Barber’s Inn, located at 410 Martin Luther King Drive. Horne said he gives each establishment $100 each month to provide hair cuts and meals to those in need until the money is spent for that month.
Horne admits he is no pastor, nor does he attend church.
“I consider myself working on discipleship,” said Horne.
He said that he wants to reach out to children as well. To teach them to give to others and to be willing to pass on what they have to others. Horne explained that each year he gives away a bicycle to children near the Christmas holiday. Horne said that all the child has to do is read the story of the True Vine (John 15:1-17). He said a child could potentially win a bicycle each year, but they can take the bicycle and give it to someone who doesn’t have one.
“When I grew up I couldn’t afford a bike. So I gathered the parts and eventually built one,” said Horne.
He said that he anticipates adding an event at Thanksgiving which will be a food giveaway, as well as having another bicycle give away in December.
“I’m trying not only to give, but to teach others to give,” said Horne.