Tag Archives: How do churches help those needing food?

Helping Hands

25 Feb

On  the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

When I was a child I had my heart set on being a missionary. As I pretended to sweep the floor in my makeshift outdoor playhouse, my mind pictured me sweeping out a tent somewhere in Africa. I was sweeping the floor for Jesus.Then I grew up, drew away from the church for a time, and put the dream aside.

A few years ago, my local church opened Compassion House, a food pantry ministry to help feed our small community. I was excited. Working in a soup kitchen or food pantry had been a desire of my heart since I had put aside the missionary dream.  I asked if  I could help and was disappointed when I was told they had all the help they needed. Several years pass, pastors and members moved on and I assumed Compassion House  was still fully staffed. Then, the first of February, a call went out of a need for volunteers to help stock shelves in Compassion House. It was at an inconvenient time but I was determined to make it work and I did.

After the shelves were stocked, I asked about helping on the days they were open, the first and third Tuesday of the month. To my joy, they said I would be welcome! I have worked two times so far and loved every  minute of it.

This is the description of Compassion House from the church website:

Compassion House exists to meet physical needs as well as spiritual needs. Our guests needing assistance will have the opportunity to sit and talk with a trained volunteer who will pray with them.

           

A new visitor to Compassion House is interviewed to determine their food needs and a top notch social worker is on site to assist with social and medical needs.  Based on the interview each person is allotted a specific number of food items. Each time they check in, they are given a slip of paper with their name as well as the number of items they may choose.Then they are sent down the walkway to the room with the food. Our food pantry gives the individuals the opportunity to choose their items, rather than handing them a pre-packed bag  and my job was greet them, usually by name and assist them with choosing items, bagging  and offering help carrying their bags,

This week a young man came in and as he was collecting his items, his movements made me think of someone who might be high. I felt uneasy. Then as he gathered the last of his items, he thanked us and said his children were going to be so happy when they came home from school and had food to eat. That wrecked my heart.

Why am I sharing this? My church is not the only one in our small community who offers a helping hand of food and sometimes clothing to those in need. The top notch social worker spends time each week at several food pantries in town and her salary is paid through a foundation which gets its money from fund raising events. America has good and generous people and I hope to begin a weekly series titled “Helping Hands” to spotlight their efforts.

How about you? Do you know of a church or organization that offers a helping hand in your  community? If you would like to share your story, please comment below and  If you are one of our many international readers I would be delighted to read and  share your stories too.

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