Midwest Food Bank serving missions in New York City
For a number of years, Midwest Food Bank Bloomington has been supporting missions in New York City. This is done in partnership with Spread Truth Ministries of Bloomington. Both ministries are committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus, making their partnership a natural fit. Several times a year, a different group of volunteers travels to New York City. During a typical trip, volunteers distribute food and spend time praying with and sharing the gospel with residents of the Bronx.
The most recent trip was August 27-29. A group of about 50 volunteers from the Apostolic Christian Church of Roanoke traveled to New York City on a bus. A semi load of non-perishable food was sent one day in advance.
On Saturday, August 27, the volunteers and semi of food went to The Love Kitchen, on the north end of Manhattan. Founded by Tom Mahairas, then Pastor of Manhattan Bible Church, and long time Director Jewel Jones, the NYC Love Kitchen opened its doors in December of 1987. Twenty percent of the people in the neighborhood they serve live below the poverty level. For over 30 years, The Love Kitchen has cooked a hot, fresh meal five days a week. Many of the people they serve are the working poor - employed people whose salary does not cover all of their needs.
When a trip is made to deliver food to The Love Kitchen, the opportunity is taken to give food to area residents. A long line had already formed by the time the volunteers arrived. The food was unloaded and lined up on the street along side the sidewalk. Small groups of volunteers, often families, were assigned different pallets of food to distribute. At 9:00 a.m., the line began to move.
For about two hours, people filed by the pallets and were given food and smiles. By the time the end of the line was reached, people had a large quantity of food. Most had a cart to move the food, but some carried the load. Volunteers were available to carry the food to homes, if needed.
When the distribution ended, the remaining food was given to The Love Kitchen. Maneuvering a semi in New York City is quite difficult, so creativity was used to get the food into The Kitchen. Volunteers formed a "food brigade" to get the food into the pantry. From children in single digits, to people in their sixties, all were engaged in activity.
Then, the group heard testimonies of people who came to Jesus through the love they received at the Kitchen. The promise of a meal brought these people into the Kitchen, and while they were there, Jewel and the other volunteers would develop relationships with them. Over time, the gospel of Christ was shared with them. Before the group left, Director Jewel Jones, a former singer with the 50's group, The El Dorados, gave his testimony.
Back on the bus, the volunteers went to Brooklyn Teen Challenge. Founded by Pastor David WIlkerson, author of "The Cross and the Switchblade," Brooklyn Teen Challenge was founded over 60 years ago. Through a Christ-centered program, it has helped many men and women overcome negative beginnings and addictions, and make good choices and decisions based on the Word of God. There are now over 1,100 centers in over 109 countries around the world.
Again using the brigade method, volunteers unloaded the remainder of the food from the semi. It will be used by Brooklyn Teen Challenge to feed residents going through their program. Following the unloading, volunteers were able to hear testimonies of some of the residents. It was amazing to be in the humble beginnings of such a large ministry.
Midwest Food Bank is blessed to be able to partner with these ministries as the share the love of Christ with hungry and hurting people.