“Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day.” Isaiah 58:10 (TLB)
As God’s people through Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the reality of hunger in our world. Nor can we sit by while millions starve. Simple compassion, not to mention Christ-like love, calls us to act.
In the time of Isaiah, God promised that if his people would feed the hungry and help those in trouble, then their light would shine out from the darkness. The same is true today. If Christians band together to fight hunger, not only will millions receive the help they desperately need, but also the world will see the light of Christ shining through us. As Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:15-16).
Most of us are fortunate enough not to know much about real hunger and thirst. From time to time we might complain that we are famished as we wait for our next meal. But our health is hardly threatened when dinner is delayed for an hour!
For Jesus it was very different. As a person who lived in poverty, he knew the weakening effects of hunger and thirst. He understood the plight of the needy (Luke 9:58). The amazing part is that when we help people who are less fortunate, we are lending a helping hand to the Lord himself.
From its inception in 1887, First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church of Pasadena has remained committed to ministering to the spiritual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of ALL people within local communities. We have also obligated ourselves to do something about the problem of hunger. Over the last 20 years, one of our most treasured outreach ministries, “Feed My Sheep” continues to meet physical needs of our neighbors by providing monthly free clothes, delicious hot meals, and food baskets. In 2018, “Feed My Sheep” was revitalized with a fresh vision of an on-site local food Pantry that serves healthy food baskets on the second and fourth Fridays (9:00 a.m. –11:00 am.).
However, COVID-19 has presented our beloved communities with unique food challenges. Coronavirus has changed everyone’s life. Schools are closed, work is drying up, and people are sick. An unprecedented number of Americans have resorted to food pantries for emergency supplies since the coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread layoffs. For most of us, COVID-19 comes with worries about how to put food on the table.
Through the financial contributions and volunteers of our congregants, the Pasadena-Altadena (CA) Chapter of The Links Incorporated, as well as the generous grant and volunteers of the City of Pasadena, “Food My Sheep” is NOW open every Friday (9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.). On a weekly basis we are able to offer fresh produce, meat, pasta, can goods, toilet paper, etc.
Our local food bank is committed to helping people in crisis year-round, and the coronavirus pandemic has made our role even more important. The bottom line is … “The Food Pantry Is Still Open – And We’re Here For The Long Haul”
The Food Pantry is a great place in the church for individuals and groups to volunteer, contribute, or perform community service. Our goals are as follows:
• Providing food to anyone who is hungry and comes to our door.
• Promoting spiritual growth through prayer, listening, and encouragement.
• Offering opportunities for more volunteers to participate.
• Maintaining our financial resources so that the food pantry is sustainable.
In all encounters, our main goal is to follow the example of Jesus in love and compassion.
If you want to help our Food Pantry, here is what you can do…
If there is any silver lining in our new normal, it is the evidence that we live and work in communities where people care about each other and about folks in need. We have received questions and inquiries from people in a position to help who want to know what they can do for others impacted by this pandemic. Here are some ideas:
• Donate money – Our resources will be stretched and strained in the coming months in ways we cannot even imagine today. Making a financial gift—left unrestricted for the Food Pantry to use where the need is greatest—will give us flexibility to respond as things change. The following AVENUES are available for your Giving Opportunities:
#1. GIVELIFY - A great way to give is Givelify: FIRST AME CHURCH, PASADENA.
#2. Cash App: $FirstAMEPASADENA
#3. Mail in your Check or Money Order to: First AME Church, 1700 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California 91103
#4. Drop off during business hours in the basket outside of the office
• Volunteer – We have put strategies in place to make our volunteer workspaces safe to visit. If you are healthy and willing to share your time and energy, thank you for sharing those gifts at the Food Pantry. Please contact our church office at (626) 798-0503
• Engage Others – Enlist your friends and family to join the cause. Share our emails; engage with our posts on Facebook or Twitter; or consider creating an online drive (virtual food!) or Facebook fundraiser to benefit the Food Pantry. The more we come together, the stronger we will all be on the other side of this.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing for our physical need for food and our spiritual need for the Bread of Life. Help us to be good stewards of what You have given us. Help us to be generous towards those in need. We pray that our local food banks will be able to provide for those seeking help. We ask this in Jesus' name.
In Christian Love,
Rev. Larry E. Campbell, D. Min.