Food… yet more than food.

This picture taken Saturday when we served over 300 people.

For the past two years we have been serving the less-served of the Dayton area, partnering with The Hope Foundation. We supply bags, warehouse, storage area, truck and ministry partners. It’s a great partnership.

Every Tuesday a few guys head down to The Food Bank and load the truck with tons of food. On Wednesday at 5:30pm, we pack hundreds of bags of groceries that will go to Fairborn, Jamestown, Ceaderville, Huber Heights, Beavercreek or Dayton.
At each location every family registers and receives 2 bags of groceries, plus 1 bag of protein, (5lbs sometimes 10lbs, we receive steak, chicken, roast, pork loin etc.) often veggies and fruit.
On the first and third Saturdays we meet at 10am(some vols come at 9am to help set the day) load the truck, and drive to our location to meet the people and to distribute the food. On the fourth Saturday we meet at the Dayton Campus at 9am and distribute the food.
At this time of writing The Hope Foundation is the largest food distributor in the Montgomery County and Green County.

What we offer is more than food. We offer:
Hope – People who have nothing need hope. Our commitment to long term, short term help brings hope to the people in need.

There are two camps, one camp says, ‘Short team help is a waste of time, only long term help will truly meet the need.’ The other camp says, Long term help takes too long and only helps a few people. We believe we need both, a commitment to long term short term help, and a commitment toward long term investment. We need both to help bring relief to people in poverty and to help people out of poverty.

Jesus stated, ‘The poor you will have with you always.’ 

This means we can serve the less served with a little, or with a lot. Both are more than good enough. Your little you give to serve others, is much more than those who do nothing or give nothing.

One man challenged me, he said that Christians were all hypocrites(internally I agreed, all are, me included) and that they did nothing to help the real needs like feeding the hungry, or helping kids in poverty or meeting medical needs.  In the conversation I stated what I was doing to help to meet some needs. I can’t meet all the needs but I could meet some.

My wife and I had adopted Quiche Indian kids in Guatemala for over 20 years, we consistently serve helping the poor with food and clothing, and we helped send medical supplies to Haiti. I then asked him what he was doing to meet the needs of the poor? Seems he was doing nothing.

Not to be smug, well maybe I was, but I did think, ‘I like what I am doing better than what you are not doing.’ We continued our conversation I discovered he had been burnt by some ‘Christians’ who weren’t very Christ-like and was pretty jaded. Been there?

Often we discover we arrive at just the right time. One man with tears in his eyes asked, ‘I heard you were cutting back and not coming to Dayton anymore?’ I assured him that we were gonna be here for as long as possible. He then replied, ‘I don’t know what I’d do without your help.’ He was one of those innocent ones of our city who needed hope and reassurance.

Relationship –  Three times each month we build relationships with the people we serve. Most of the people who come to serve consistently know the people they serve by name. They know what the person has asked prayer for, and have a connection with the families being served. It’s refreshing to hear serving people talk to a person by name. ‘Hey, Joe how’s it going?’

It’s amazing that some people have given us a hard time for our connection to the people we consistently help. Framed in ‘you are not really being real to the people and you are not developing long term relationships.’ The truth, long term relationships are being developed and people are serving specific individuals and caring consistently over time.

One couple has built a relationship with a prostitute. They know her name, spend time with her, purchase new clothing and generally are her lifeline to sanity.

A Listening Ear- Listening to a persons story encourages the heart more than we understand. Everyone has a story. But not everyone has someone who wants to hear the story. Listening shows respect, gives honor and establishes a sense of self worth. Listening also shouts, I care for you.

When we first opened the Thursday breakfast I was talking to one of the men. When we were finished, I held out my hand to shake his and said, ‘Thanks for the conversation.’ He gripped my hand and said, ‘No sir, thank you for listening, it means more to me than you will ever know.’

God Space – We believe that when we go He is with us and in us in a tangible way. As we set up, and begin to serve we invite God’s presence to be among us. Often when we talk to people we discover they too are aware of His manifest goodness usually felt by a sense of peace, calmness, joy and comfort.

When prayer is offered we repeatedly hear stories of how God has met their needs. Whether it be for healing, relationship restoration, jobs, etc.. They can point back to the day the prayer was prayed, up to the time the prayer was answered. 

A few months ago a wife was concerned about her marriage. It had been rocky and she asked for a specific restoration of her relationship with her husband. A couple of months of further prayer continued. She then recently reported that she and her husband had just renewed their vows and they are once again connected.
What can you do?
If live in the Dayton area you too can come and offer hope to the less-served of our community. Just show up on Wed night 5:30pm to help pack, or on the Saturdays 1st and 3rd at 10am Beavercreek 4051 Indian Ripple Rd. and on the 4th Saturday 9am Dayton Campus 1222 N. Main St.
Wednesday morning is the time we set up all the food to be bagged. Pop in at 10 am at the Joseph Project Food Pantry 4051 Indian Ripple Rd to help set up tables and to set up the food and count the bags. Every Wednesday evening from 5:30pm we pack the bags for the weekend.

If you don’t live in Dayton… Why not begin from where you are, with what you have? Your little, or your a lot, will make a difference.

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