On Sunday morning, February 19th the Missions Team is packaging meals for “Take Away Hunger” in the church Gathering Space. The meals are made of a specialized rice based mixture to feed hungry and starving people both locally and globally. Volunteers are needed to fill 60 minute slots throughout the morning at 9am, 10am or 11am for our meal packing party!
View available slots and sign up online.
Take Away Hunger is an Iowa-based food relief organization that unifies teams of people who package a specialized rice based soy casserole mixture which is used locally and overseas. It is based on a simple principle of people helping people, in this instance, even kids! Take Away Hunger not only nourishes hungry children, but the spirits of the volunteers who pack the meals. For more information on this awesome ministry, visit takeawayhunger.com
Wednesday morning at the church started with dumpster-diving to find a kid’s lost clothes. Not a normal activity. Of course it was not a normal week because we were in the middle of the Flood of 2016. Our response as a church was to partner with the American Red Cross as a shelter.
As the flood waters crested we celebrated a flood of generosity. People donated clothes, provided rides, did laundry, made food, played with kids, and loved our community. The Red Cross provided volunteers from around the country. Our volunteers came from our own neighborhoods.
Richard spent the week living in our church building. He is a chef. He said, “On Friday, the water was coming. I needed a place. I made plans to come to the shelter.”
Richard moved in on Saturday. The Red Cross provided a cot and food. People donated pillows. When the buses stopped running, we provided a rides. Others spent time chatting with Richard to offer encouragement.
“I see the hand of God in this,” Richard explained, “The church responded as described in the Bible. When you did see a need, you did something about it.” He is deeply grateful that he had a place to go and people who cared. “Watching people come short-circuited me. Car, after car, after car arrived to make a donation.”
Because of the generosity, compassion, and love of our community, Richard’s experience at the shelter was very good. He was “pleased and impressed” in a situation generated by a natural disaster.
Cedar Hills continues to be the home to about 70-80 residents displaced by the Flood 2016 evacuations. Some families have had a chance to go home while others are just now leaving hotel rooms and just joining us today.
Johnson Ave Hy-Vee donates three shopping carts.
A huge shout-out to the Johnson Ave Hy-Vee and manager KC Lyons for responding to our call for help when we needed new shopping carts for the Open Hands Food Pantry. Each week, many of our pantry visitors need assistance getting their groceries to their cars. When a few of our carts disappeared, we were in dire need of some replacements. KC responded quickly to our request for help and we now have three new carts for our patrons to use.
We love our neighbors at Hy-Vee! Thank you, again KC and Hy-Vee stores for your great generosity.
The Open Hands Food Pantry supports 150+ families a month with food and basic toiletry supplies. The pantry is open Mondays 5-6pm, Wednesdays 10am-12pm and Fridays 10am-12pm and staffed by loving volunteers. Patrons receive a bag of non-perishable groceries based on their family size and any perishables on hand (milk, cheese, meat, etc.) We are grateful for the support of our church and local businesses who help us make a difference in our community.
Loading the carts came with another story… A woman who saw us loading the carts was convinced we were stealing them. Being a good Samaritan, she flagged us down, standing in front of our truck so we couldn’t move while she began to call the police. Luckily, we convinced her that the carts had just been donated! We had a great time laughing with her and thanking her for looking out for her community.