Food Pantry Weekly, 15Aug2018

Greetings Fellow Foodies! This week’s numbers: · # households served: 107 · # individuals served: 342 · # first-timers: 19 · # of volunteers: 34 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” –   Isaiah 55:8 Our God is a big picture God. When we expanded our Food Pantry over seven years ago, no one could have imagined the massive undertaking that it has become each week except God. All we wanted to do was to help facilitate feeding a few more needy families in our community. When we were handing out those first few bags of food to under 10 families those first few weeks, not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined averaging over 125 families, or having all the other activities that coincide with the pantry like the hospitality snack supper or the Free Store. It is truly mind-boggling! However, with this type of expansion, comes a boat load of logistics which quite frankly exceeds our ability to manage at times. We are in the midst of reassessing our entire process with the hope that we can break down our operation into much smaller pieces so that no one single person has to bear the entire load of this vital ministry. Be in prayer as we transition to new leadership and new operation processes. As always, we thank God for all of you who give of your time and resources to keep this ministry going! Peace and blessings to all! If you are looking for something to donate besides food, we could sure use baby diapers and...

Food Pantry Weekly, 8Aug2018

Greetings Fellow Foodies! This week’s numbers: · # households served: 101 · # individuals served: 333 · # first-timers: 9 · # of volunteers: 31 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters .”  – Colossians 3:23 Five years ago if we had had 101 families, we would have panicked. This past Wednesday, we considered it a slow night! So goes the Food Pantry. I want to tell the story of a new family who came in at the last minute. We were already in the midst of clean-up and several volunteers had already left due to other obligations. Our prayer warrior, Maja, was one of those who had gone so when this family asked for prayers, we had to improvise. This family had some very large obstacles facing them. The young lady who asked for prayers was acting as the caretaker for her parents. The father, who was there was suffering from kidney failure and the mother was home with terminal cancer. This young daughter was stressed to the maximum. We prayed and hugged and sent them home with food. It’s heartbreaking but that probably repeats itself many times in all of our lives. The scripture I chose above should be the goal of every volunteer who comes and helps out with this ministry. The Gospel when boiled down is very simple, love God and love others. If we keep this in mind every week, then the frustrations that are always present when running this type of ministry will be minimized. Please keep our ministry and volunteers in your prayers...

Food Pantry Weekly, 1Aug2018

Greetings Fellow Foodies! This week’s numbers: · # households served: 132 · # individuals served: 451 · # first-timers: 26 · # of volunteers: 34 “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” – Luke 14:13 As you can see, our numbers continue to grow. Our average over the last 4 weeks has been 136 families served per week! Our Food Pantry leaders are very concerned that we cannot sustain this type of explosive growth in the foreseeable future. However, having said that, we have been saying the same thing for the last seven plus years of our operation and yet God has always provided. While not entirely sure of our way forward, keep this ministry in your prayers. I used the above scripture because it dawned on me that what goes on on Wednesday evenings is indeed a banquet, a party, a celebration of sorts! It is with this in mind that we need a more global approach to who we are. We soon will be calling this Covenant Care Ministries which will encompass the Food Pantry, Hospitality dinner, the Free Store and all the myriad of other things that go on, i.e., Wesleyan Nurse, Snap registration, etc. Stay tuned as we transition this into action although most of this is already being done by our wonderful volunteer team! I’ve heard it said that love is giving to meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. This is how Jesus has loved each of us. Peace and blessings to all! If you are looking for something to donate besides food, we could sure use baby diapers and wipes!...

Food Pantry Weekly, 25Jul2018

Greetings Fellow Foodies! This week’s numbers: · # households served: 143 · # individuals served: 519 · # first-timers: 16 · # of volunteers: 30 “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness.”  –Isaiah 58:10 Take a look at the numbers! For the second time in three weeks we have reached another all-time high. We have poured over charts and statistics and cannot delineate any kind of seasonal trends so the growth of our Food Pantry is enlarging due to the number of new clients registering each week and then returning! One of our volunteers remarked that he had never been asked this question so many times as he was asked Wednesday evening,  “How often can we come back?” Our unwritten policy has always been, “You may come as often as you need us!” And so far we have been able to meet the needs each week, only by God’s grace! A note to our volunteers, I was reading a devotional this week titled “Unselfish Service”. It is where I found the scripture I used above. Here’s an excerpt: The prophet Isaiah describes the kind of service God favors: acts that lift the hearts of those around us, like the wall repairers did for the elderly woman. This passage teaches that God values unselfish service to others over empty spiritual rituals. In fact, God exercises a two-way blessing on the selfless service of His children. First, God uses our willing acts of service to aid the oppressed and needy (Isaiah 58:7–10). Then God honors...

Food Pantry Weekly, 18Jul2018

Greetings Fellow Foodies! This week’s numbers: · # households served: 126 · # individuals served: 425 · # first-timers: 15 · # of volunteers: 34 . It was great to be back volunteering at the Food Pantry and seeing several new faces among the ranks! It was another busy evening but we started off with a corporate prayer in the Fellowship Hall during the snack supper. That always sets the correct tone!   I wanted to share the following Facebook post by our pastor , Stella Burkhalter about her observation of Wednesday night: “We feed people on Wednesdays at my church. There were 120 households signed in on the list when I checked, but more came later. Every time I looked around, people were talking to people, saying kind things, catching up. The atmosphere was loving. You should have seen the stuff we gave out. Hot dogs and veggies for dinner. Ripe, delicious figs among the groceries. (I stole a couple!) About a billion pairs of nice shoes in the Free Store. Today was the day I finally learned one of our client’s name after casual chatting for a few months and running into him around the neighborhood- today was the day we moved from “hi” to hugging when we see each other. A new volunteer just found us and I feel like he will probably become a regular. I have to remind myself that what happens each week is a little miracle. If you’re on Facebook, I know you read the news and the snark, so you need to know this is happening, too. You should post your random good...

Food Pantry Weekly, 11Jul2018

Greetings Fellow Foodies! This week’s numbers: · # households served: 142 · # individuals served: 441 · # first-timers: 21 · # of volunteers: 34 Received this message today about our Food Pantry and I think it’s from a client: “I want to thank you so much for the most incredible food pantry and soup kitchen that I’ve seen in Austin! Although I haven’t been to many, I doubt there’s one better than yours. The number of people that you served, the quality of service and food and volunteers was truly amazing and a blessing to all who attended. I can’t thank you enough. I wish you great success in the future of this program! It helped over a hundred families in one day! Amazing!”   Friends, while I wasn’t able to be with you this week, I understand it was a wild and crazy ride as you can see in the numbers but notes like this can lift your tired spirits! Not only did we smash our one week total, it was also the first week of re-registration. We had lots of volunteers helping in registration but not as many as usual working the food pantry line. However, it was reported to me that despite the numbers, things still ran on schedule and very little grumbling. I also got this note concerning the amount of food, “God is good.  While we registered and served a record number of people last night, our food donations were also at a record high of 3,700 pounds.  The average weekly donation for the year has been only about half that.  Of course, part is because...