Food pantry ministry at First Congregational in Revere, MA
The line stretched out the door, around the corner and reached all the way down to the next block! People from Revere and the Boston area were streaming through the front door, and our church food pantry was overwhelmed. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy of so many in our area, leaving them without jobs and provision of food. Our food pantry director, Wendy Baur said afterwards,
“This was a night like we’ve never seen. Ever. Normally this time of year we have around 40-60 families, maybe 5-10 new people. We had 321 people and 296 of them were NEW! Keep praying, the volunteers are shell shocked!”
It was the first time in our food pantry’s 37 year history that we had to turn people away because we were out of food. The following week, we had 345 new visitors, and the Boston’s WCVB news station (click here to see the video) was there to report on the gravity of the situation. Our food supply was running critically low, and we were not sure if we would have enough food for next week. How would we keep our doors open? We sought the Lord and prayed to him for provision.
The Lord answered our prayers in three significant ways.
First, people began to offer donations and volunteered to help. We received donations from community organizations, businesses, and individuals from our city and region. Someone even offered his box truck to pick up more food for us at the local food bank a few times a week!
Second, the city of Revere rallied around our food pantry and offered their resources to us. Our church building was becoming inadequate to safely care for all of the people coming each week. We needed a new location that could allow for social distancing and for curbside pickup. The mayor and city counselors went into action and offered us the gym at a local middle school, and offered us city workers and help with food deliveries throughout the week! Through the years our church has always sought to find new and creative ways to serve the city and share the gospel in word and deed. When our time of need came, our city responded in a wonderful way. As one city counselor said to us “Thank you for all you do! Your service and kindness over the decades show the wonderful character traits you possess.”
Third, the body of Christ began to respond in ways we did not expect. When I expressed our need to other churches in the CCCC, they began to support our food pantry financially. Then we received a call from Park Street Church.
Park Street Church has partnered with us for many years in our evangelistic outreach “Reach The Beach” in Revere, and that support and fellowship has nurtured a great relationship. Now, they were calling because they wanted to help local CCCC churches, and heard about the need of our Food Pantry. They offered us support; sending us financial support and putting our food pantry on their website as place where members or Park Street could come and volunteer throughout the week. We were absolutely blown away when we received this call. This was a much larger church calling us to offer what they can in a time of great need. What an example of love and generosity within the body of Christ!
Since that time, other CCCC churches have also contacted us, and offered support as well. This has been the most encouraging news for us. In a moment of crisis and concern for so many, the local church has come together to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who need provision and hope. As so many of us seek to love and serve our communities in this time, may we find new and creative ways to work together for the sake of the gospel so that the world may know that Jesus Christ and Lord.
Click here to support the Food Pantry ministry in Revere.