Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
Imagine you’ve come home after a long day: your feet are tired from being constricted in shoes and your posture is already collapsing before you even see the beloved couch. But don’t worry, it’s the weekend. You have no outside responsibilities for the next few days, so you might as well just lock yourself inside and relax until Monday cometh. Your stomach now grumbles to remind you of the timely distance between now and your last lunch break (if your workplace’s generous donut splurge counts as lunch). Still dreaming of the legendary Krispy Kreme, you stumble into the kitchen to find –
You check the fridge.
Long forgotten corners of the pantry?
I’m not even talking about the “Uuugh, Moooooom, there’s nothing to eeeeeeat” type of empty. You feel hungry enough to where you’d gladly eat any can of straight spaghetti sauce if only you could find it. But you can’t just go to the store to buy some food – you locked yourself in for the weekend, remember? Not that you’d really have the money to buy food anyway. I guess you’ll have to buckle down and wait for those donuts at work on Monday.
In a sense, this is what is happening to kids all over Centerville during the weekend. Many kids who go to Centerville City Schools end up going home for the weekend without any food. They often live in tough situations that result in little-to-no money for food – sometimes the only real meal they get is the free lunch at school. This is where the Food2Go program comes in.
Lisa Van Nest, the current coordinator for Food2Go, shares the concept of this program and how she became a part of it:
What is Food2Go?
Food2Go is a backpack program for the Centerville City Schools that began through a couple of individuals from Living Hope Church who saw a need to feed children who are at risk of not having enough food to eat on the weekends. Since its beginning in 2007-2008, the program has gone from feeding 40+ children each week to over 160 children this school year. There were nearly 200 children served by the end of last school year. There are 28-30 volunteers involved in the program who purchase the specified food items, inventory, pack and deliver the food to the schools each week. We also partner with Elk Enterprize which is the work/study program for special needs students at the High School who inventory and pack the individual food bags, thereby receiving valuable career and life training in the process.
How did I become involved?
Just before the holidays last year (2014), I had heard that the Food2Go ministry was struggling financially and there was some concern that Living Hope would no longer be able to support the program. That struck a chord with me–I thought that this was too important a ministry for it to not be able to continue. At the time, I had no involvement with the program and didn’t really know much about how it operated, so I didn’t really give it any more consideration, especially with the onset of the holidays and all the busyness that comes with the season.
UNTIL, the first of the year came around and I received a call from my pastor, Jon Gibson, who wanted to talk to me about Food2Go. I was reluctant–no, afraid of what that meant, so I did not return his call. The following weekend was the District Women’s Gathering, which I attended by myself. As I sat through the sessions listening to each woman on the discussion panel share their testimony of how God called them to start their ministry, I felt God poking at my heart. Then, I heard one of the women say, “God is speaking to one of you out there and if he’s asking you to do something, then you better do it!” It was as if God had said it directly to me and it could not have been more clear. It was confirmation for me, that God was calling me to get involved with Food2Go. So, I returned Jon’s call and as it turned out, the director of Food2Go was stepping down, and a new coordinator was needed. After meeting with Jon and the director to learn more about the role, I knew this was what God was calling me to and I couldn’t say no.
I am now in my first year of directing Food2Go and it has been a learning process. The ministry is still having a few struggles financially, but it is improving and people have stepped up to either volunteer or support it financially. We have another church, Normandy UMC, who partners with us by providing some of the food which is about 1/3 of the total cost. We have also received grants from a couple of local organizations.
What has God shown you?
God has shown me that He is always faithful. I was afraid…afraid of failure…afraid of inadequacy…afraid of disappointment. Despite those fears, God reminded me that He will provide what I need and all I need to do is trust Him for it. Those fears still creep in from time to time, but when I see the blessings that come from this ministry and hear of the impact it is having in the community, those fears are replaced with joy, satisfaction and excitement. The relationships I have formed with not only the volunteers, but school counselors and teachers, have been a blessing I didn’t even foresee. It is a pleasure to work with such a wonderful team, who all share the passion for helping children in need.
I am grateful that God spoke to me the way that He did. Through the obedience of those women He called to ministry and through the opportunity of hearing those women share their stories, I now have the opportunity to share my story. That is my heart’s desire: to be a part of God’s story!
If God is poking your own heart about helping with Food2Go, you can go to their Facebook page for more information and contacts: Food-2-Go
article by Lisa Van Nest and Janae Kammer