By Mike Douglas
A few years ago, Lynn Gardens Baptist Church started a small food pantry project with the Care and Share organization. It was very satisfying to help fulfill the physical needs of about 15 families each week with their nutritional needs. It was great to interact with each individual family and play with the children as one by one each family went down the stairs to the food pantry rooms to select food from the shelves. As the people left after getting their food, they would always turn and express their gratitude for the help.
The number of families coming for assistance steadily rose from about 15 families to 80 -90 families. As more and more families began to hear about God’s Food Pantry, Lynn Gardens congregation sought ways to expand the ministry. Lynn Gardens applied for and was granted Hunger Relief Funds from Colorado Baptists in 2012 and 2013. This additional money was primarily used to purchase groceries to be distributed. Volunteers re-organized the way the food was distributed and moved it to a larger space: the fellowship hall. Many of those coming to the church for food began lining up to get food at 5am even though the pantry did not open until 11am. The need was real and present in their lives.
God’s Food Pantry volunteers got the idea to being an exercise class after observing many of the families navigate the stairway down to the pantry. The class was open to families in the community as well as church members. However, we wanted to use the exercise class as an outreach for the community primarily. This ministry would show individuals how to exercise and get stronger which in turn would prevent falls, as far as the elderly were concerned and for the younger participants, it would get them moving and active.
Currently, every third Wednesday of the month, the food distribution takes place on the front lawn/parking lot of the church from 10am until 12pm. With the number of families needing assistance growing from the 80-90 families weekly to as much as 220 families, the blessings continued to grow. Lynn Gardens now has an average of approximately 160 families per week attending God’s Food Pantry.
During the food distributions on Thursdays, representatives from partner organization Care and Share, have begun offering samples and information on healthy nutrition. They also offer a cooking class called Cooking Matters during the evenings on Thursdays. The class is a federally recognized healthy cooking class that focuses on nutrition. Cooking Matters is open to anyone who would like to attend and is offered to those who pick up food at the pantry as another ministry to them.
God told Gideon to trim the size of his army from 22,000 all the way down to 300 men in order to fight the Midianites so that it would be known that God gave them the victory. (Judges 7) It was also so that Israel would not brag that they themselves won the victory. God has used a very small church to carry out a mission that they themselves would not be able to do. Let it be known, the victory or success of the food pantry and all of its components are not from Lynn Gardens Baptist Church. It is only by God’s grace. Oh, what a blessing.
Mike Douglas serves as a deacon at Lynn Gardens Baptists Church. Mike also volunteers with God’s Food Pantry as the assistant director of food ministries and as an exercise coach.Leave a reply →