By Jen Calverley
In the past several weeks, our Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry has seen a dramatic increase in use. Pre-COVID, Nancy Griffin and I would perhaps have one or two customers per week. Tuesday, we fed seven families in one day. Last Thursday, Nancy and Dennis Griffin served 7 families. As you can imagine, this takes a constant intake of food and people to organize and distribute it. We’ve had a few partners in our endeavor; the Rotary Club provided watermelons for 4th of July week, the Town of Wayland provided small cartons of milk and fresh fruit, an organization called Dignity Matters has provided a huge amount of feminine hygiene products, not to mention Nancy Germaine’s endless supply of face masks. We have watched the food supply dwindle much quicker than we’d imagined, and this week we questioned if we could provide for all the people who may come. But on Tuesday, I witnessed God provide it all.
On Monday, I was concerned about my need for volunteers at the pantry and asked my daughter, Abby, to help. On Monday evening, without even dialing my phone to solicit help, I received a text from a member who wanted to volunteer with her husband on Tuesday. And as it turned out, we needed every bit of that help! Tuesday morning, when Abby and I arrived at TCC, not only did we have a person waiting for the food pantry, but twenty bags of food were left in front of the door. Our notice in the email newsletter helped and people were responding! Within that donation were diapers and baby food, which we ran out of last week, but were needed by the woman waiting at the front door. On and on it went throughout the morning. A customer would arrive, and more supplies would be dropped off that they would need. We constantly took items from the bags we just received, in awe at God’s timeliness and care. I would call this “just-in-time provision.” He truly provided everything just when we needed it, the volunteers, the food, and the customers. I have seen this kind of provision in my own life and every time it takes my breath away. Nearly on the brink of financial disaster, I have prayed for provision and mercy and more times than not, the prayer is answered with extravagant abundance. Now we, as a church, have been given the opportunity to witness this same provision when serving those in need at the food pantry. By giving our time and resources, we receive a soul-quenching gift in return, a miraculous reminder that God is present and moving to change the world.
Though we lament the need for our food pantry, because it means people are struggling and hungry, perhaps it is an opportunity for us to witness and experience God’s love and provision and pass our testimonies along to those we serve. Whether they know Jesus or not, they need to know that there is a God who loves them. And we need to be reminded that despite all the hurdles this pandemic (and life) throws at us, whether physically, emotionally or spiritually, we are dependent on the God who provides for our every need.
We are in constant need of donations to the pantry and volunteers to serve. A list of needs for the pantry is published, and regularly updated, in our email newsletter. If you would like to volunteer (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-Noon), please contact Jen or Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.