Feeding Hungry Neighbors: A Vital Part of Ministry
By Liv Osby, a Synod Communicator for the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, Greenville.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” -Matthew 25:35-40
Feeding hungry neighbors is a vital part of the mission of the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Greenville.
And hundreds of area residents in need find help every month at LCOS’s Our Saviour Community Ministries Pantry.
Through donations of food and funds from the congregation, offset by individual gifts and food drives held by schools, churches and businesses – plus the work of LCOS volunteers who pack and distribute dozens of food boxes every week – the OSCM pantry lives its faith by making a difference in the lives of neighbors who have fallen on hard times.
The OSCM pantry was part of a food bank network called Gods’ Pantry for more than a decade. But when it suspended operations amid financial woes, OSCM continued the call by establishing its own on-site pantry under the LCOS’s 501(c)3 designation.
Each month, recipients can provide their families with nutritious and filling meals from the protein, rice, vegetables, fruit and other food staples included in every package.
“The pantry has positively touched the lives of hundreds of people,” said pantry coordinator Elayne Finklestein.
“It has touched our lives as well,” she added, “teaching us to be God’s hands in welcoming and helping those who are challenged to provide adequate food for their families.”
And the recipients are thankful for the help.
“It is a blessing to know that people care enough to help people who are less fortunate,” said one.
“It has really been a great help when I am waiting for my check and my cabinets are empty,” said another, a young mother of a two-year-old. “I praise God for the help.”
“It is a help to me because I am a retired person,” said yet another. “Thank God and people like you all for what you are doing.”
LCOS Council Chair Clint Eastham said the pantry is a significant ministry for the church, providing assistance to some 400 people every month.
“Our congregation members serve this ministry in many ways, from shopping, gathering donations, packing boxes and distribution to financial contributions and financial management,” he said.
“The passion demonstrated by our members for this ministry has been critical to our success.”