Give Them Some Food Yourselves
Give Them Some Food Yourselves --July 26, 2020 COVID-19 Faith Reflection
One of the best kept secrets of Nativity is its food pantry. Hidden next to the kitchen in the Parish Hall, it is a gem.
Tina Nakamura has been coordinating the food pantry for the past ten years. On Tuesdays from 10am to 12pm noon, she or one of the dozen volunteers give out a bag of dry goods groceries to each family who comes.
Most of the families are parishioners, although some are from the community. We help them not because they are Catholic. We help them because we are Catholic. That is what Jesus did. This is what we do.
Remember the time when Jesus taught a vast crowd and, by evening, they were hungry? The disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied (see Matthew 14:13-21).
At our food pantry, instead of five loaves and two fish, families get one prepared grocery bag with peanut butter and jelly (by the way, the food pantry always needs peanut butter and jelly), canned vegetables, pasta, tuna, mac and cheese, beans, almond milk, and odds and ends such as bar soap or toilet paper.
Some of the groceries come from the Winn-Dixie grocery store in Longwood. Generous customers buy a five-dollar or ten-dollar pre-packaged bag and leave it in a designated shopping cart. John Maingot, a parishioner who started the program, picks them up on Mondays and delivers them to the Nativity food pantry.
Over the past eight years, this food package program averaged 25 bags a week totaling well over eleven thousand bags worth over sixty thousand dollars.
We share this food with The Sharing Center. Serving 8,000 people in the past year, its pantry is the largest free food resource in Seminole County.
What can you do?
TELL SOMEONE about the Nativity food pantry. Parishioners might not know about it. If they do, shame might keep them away. Your nudge might make the difference between hunger and hope. All they need is a photo ID. Spread the good news!
Look in the Nativity parish bulletin for July 26. Find the food pantry list. Bring an item to the parish office or church. We plan to publish monthly a needed list of items.
Volunteer. Some of the regular volunteers are staying at home due to the pandemic. Contact Tina if you can help on Tuesdays on a temporary basis.
Visit The Sharing Center (407) 260-9155. Your donations and volunteer time can lift our neighbors in their need
We are blessed with miraculous shelves. They replenish themselves like the loaves and fishes. The Lord who fed the five thousand, not counting women and children, hears the cry of the poor.
I will be away from July 27 to August 15 teaching preaching. Father Bob Markunas is filling in for me at the Masses and is available for those who need a priest. Contact the parish office 407-322-3961 to reach him.
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