As businesses across America have closed their doors and states have extended shelter in place measures, millions of Americans have found themselves unemployed wondering where they would find resources to support their families.
In an effort to support their communities during these unsettling times over the last five months, more than 60 faith groups across the country have partnered with Feed the Children, a leading hunger relief organization. These combined efforts have provided nearly 3 million pounds of food and essentials to thousands of children and families.
Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego partnered with Feed the Children to host four events that each served 1,000 families. Each week, participants received food and essentials through the contactless drive through events. In total, the organizations distributed more than 146,000 pounds of food and essentials to 4,000 families.
“If there are no jobs, there is no money. If there is no money, then there is no food,” said Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Church. “God has been good to Shadow Mountain and we must find a way to help people who are hungry.”
In Oklahoma City multiple churches including Crossings Community Church and Discovery Church partnered with Feed the Children, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association (ORA) and the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association to distribute boxes of non-perishable food and personal essentials to 700 families who had been affected when COVID-19 caused businesses to close.
“With more than 150,000 restaurant and hospitality workers who were unemployed when restaurants closed, the need was vast. Everyone knows someone working in hospitality, and it’s amazing to see the Oklahoma community come together to support those who normally serve them on a daily basis.” said Patti Colley, chief strategy officer of the ORA.
In New Jersey, staff members of Liquid Church delivered food and essentials door-to-door each Saturday as well as organized contactless drive through events.
“Our work was featured on a local television program and our requests for product quadrupled very quickly. I had been on my knees praying, wondering how we were going to meet the needs of our community,” said Kristin Hosen, director of outreach for Liquid Church. “A few days later a staff member told me about a Feed the Children representative she had met.”
The organizations partnered to provide 21 semi-truck loads – nearly 235,000 pounds of food and essentials – to 8,400 families in their community.
Hosen noted that all members of the community were invited to the distribution events, not just church members.
“We served people of all walks of life during these events,” she said. “The virus doesn’t discriminate and affects everyone equally. We tried to make this the most honoring, dignified process to help families in our community during this challenging time.”
We had an opportunity to serve our community not only on the frontline by distributing food, but we also had the chance to deliver food and essentials door to door to families.
For teen volunteer Madison, she was touched to see a local teacher waiting in line to pick up boxes of food to distribute to students.
“She waited in line for more than an hour just to make sure she had food to deliver to her students,” Madison said. “It was really important to me that I was able to help people in my community.”
For volunteer Deby Fabrazzo, helping distribute food and household items provided perspective during this pandemic and made her grateful for what her family has.
“My husband and I have three teenage children. We haven’t worried about food insecurity and we’ve been very healthy,” Fabrazzo said. “This has served as a reminder that we have so much to be thankful for. We have obviously never been through a pandemic before and this experience has been a very eye-opening one.”
Fabrazzo added “from my perspective, what we can offer the community is hope. This is a tangible way that we can make a difference during a time that feels really hopeless.”
For more information about how Feed the Children is working with community partners, like faith groups, across the U.S. to combat hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit feedthechildren.org/covid19.