“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, my Father has blessed you! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home. I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear.I was sick and you took care of me.I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then the people who have God’s approval will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you into our homes or see you in need of clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.” Matthew 25:34-40
Having run a food pantry before, I personally recognize the value of good nutrition when people are struggling and the scarcity of fresh donated foods in their time of need. Shelters and Soup Kitchens have stepped up their nutritional guidelines in recent years. But I would like to take the time today to encourage more Christians in our community to add to this effort as well. Simple things like fresh produce, dairy products, and meat can provide a solid foundation or building block in someone’s homelessness or financial recovery. If Jesus were the one in front of us with “no where to lay His head”, would we shuffle through our pantry and give him our outdated leftover canned goods? I think we would offer him the first part of the very best food that we had in our refrigerators and cupboards. The reality of the situation is earning potential and the cost of living in our state just isn’t lining up. We are in the middle of an affordable housing crisis. Despite our efforts, more and more people end up either homeless or returning to homelessness every day. With the help of Jesus, we have done miraculous works in the community when it comes to housing help for the needy already. But we tend to still have a stigma associated that causes us to look down on our struggling brothers and sisters instead of truly helping to lift them up. Our stigma only adds to their insecurities. Our donations speak to those we aim to help and tell them what we think their worth is.
In many cases, yes, some form of illness is the root of a lot of homelessness. Yet, knowing there is potential for illness, we hand fellow humans stale bread, walk away, and hope our sympathy helps them not to return to homelessness in some way. Why? Because we have done something now so we can feel better about our own lives. What about the health and nutrition of our homeless children and the parents who are responsible for raising them? What about the parents who have worked and still find themselves in a crisis? Providing a healthy meal for someone who can’t will always be what we are called to do. What about the message we are sending with our donation that says they are “less than us” instead of using our donations as an opportunity to teach them about who in Christ they truly are? Personally, I feel we need to do better at stepping up our efforts here a notch or two. Even if each of us only give a little, we can make a huge impact collectively. A lot of Christians use the verse “If a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat” to justify their entitlement theories If we truly look at that verse it says “If a man would not work, neither should he eat.” Very few people actually flat out refuse to work without any solid reason, whether they are aware of that reason or not. And, unless we are the ones in relationship with them that facilitates the need to prepare their meal directly, it’s really not our place to decide who is worthy or entitled and who is not. Using that verse is just not applicable to much of anything but judgment here. Regardless of financial status, every one of us is priceless in Our Father’s eyes. Helping those less fortunate than us in any particular capacity, to the best of our ability, IS our Kingdom Inheritance and our eternal blessing.
The same goes for those who need help with food. Whether we are homeless or housed, Christian or not, we all endure times of struggle and need help now and then from our friends. This fact alone makes all of us our brother’s equal as well as our brother’s keeper. The Bible tells us God feeds the sparrows and asks “Are you not worth more than they?” In other words, we should never feel bad about having to ask for something as fundamental as housing or food. Being a human alone makes us more than worthy of receiving the Father’s help from others. Do not take the donations of well meaning Christians as anything other than that. They, like you, are doing the best they know how or have been taught to do. We all are learning and growing together here. And we all need help with understanding unconditional love, grace, and forgiveness from each other along the way. The kingdom of heaven here on earth awaits our very knowledge of this. Every single human being alive is entitled to eat and eat healthy. It is up to us to decide if we, too, deserve to partake in the grace and glory of this predominantly Christian effort from any vantage point. If we need help, it is readily available. All we have to do is be willing, ask, and stay mindful that, if you are hungry or need help with food, God is using your situation to speak solutions into the problem of hunger, too.
Here is the 211 Brevard List of Food Pantries you can either benefit from or take food donations to:
If your church has a food pantry that is already operating in the county that is not on the 211 list, I would like to encourage you to contact the folks at 211 and they will be most happy to publish a listing for you. Not only will contacting them serve to better reach our community, 211 uses information collected to justify funding needed to bring more aid into our community.
An additional list of food pantries available that also need our help:
Living Waters Fellowship, one of our unity partners, has a food pantry that you can access information about here:
As well as on their Living Waters Fellowship website:
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