Feeding The Hungry
Christian Fellowship School Students Reach Out
March 28, 2007 -Christian Fellowship School, located in Ashburn, Virginia recently invited Rev. Byron E. Martin to speak at both of their morning devotions periods. Mrs. Mandy Cantner, a 2nd grade teacher and Mrs. Jennifer Nix, the Christian school Principal, decided to allow the American Rescue Workers to receive the donations of food from the student's Food Drive specifically for our Homeless Feeding Outreach Program.
We feed 250 meals every Wednesday to the homeless living in the parks, around the metro centers and at overnight shelters. We go wherever we can find them. We receive very little help of funds or food so the Food Drive that Christian Fellowship held really touched our hearts.
By noon, the students had a final tally of food and water over 4,600 pieces. I was overwhelmed by the response of the very young ones (kindergarten to second grade), who actually took snacks that their parents had packed for their lunches and donated them to feed the homeless. I looked over at Sgt. Tory D. Shaw, who had come to help me with his testimony and help, and found he hadn't been able to hold back the tears as they marched in line to drop their snacks in the boxes. The High School kids took all (well over 200 pieces) of the soda, chips and candy they were selling for a trip they wanted to take and added it to the huge pile of food and water. When asked how they would now fund the trip, they said they would find another way.
To be honest, I was so over-whelmed by the Christian response of the teachers and students that I couldn't wait to get into the loaded truck and drive away. I witnessed the love of Christ in the Principal, faculty and students of all ages in this school and will not soon forget their kindness.
Sometimes we get weary and discouraged, wondering if we are doing any good or if anybody cares. And then it's as if God speaks softly to your heart, saying; "Don't be discouraged. You want confirmation? Watch my children!"
"And He said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18: 3,4
Hunger Relief Has a New Face in Washington, DC
We purchased a used Metro Van (heightened roof/bus door) to better serve the homeless in the Washington, DC area and to relieve the Disaster Relief Unit to be further renovated to better handle National Disaster Relief Work.
The van was purchased in August of 2005. We then had it painted, lettered and outfitted. The Hunger Relief Van is proving to be a better use for our weekly downtown work in several areas;
- It is easier to maneuver through the streets of Washington, DC than the 27 foot Disaster Relief Unit.
- We get really great gas mileage by using the smaller van on a regular basis.
- Because we have outfitted it specifically for Hunger Relief (unlike the Disaster Relief vehicle that was outfitted for multiple use) we find it gets the job done more smoothly. We are thankful to see the ministry of Hunger Relief and Disaster Relief as it continues to grow in the DC Corps
2005 is the year that our vision for Disaster Relief has come to be a reality. It began with a friend of Col. Carr in the Baltimore Corps who told us about the group Christ in Action. They were feeding thousands of people who had lost everything from Hurricane Katrina. Working through National Headquarters of American Rescue Workers, we sent the first crew of 8 men to Gulfport, Mississippi in September to the place known in the newspapers as Camp Hope. The crew was made up of officers and volunteers from the Baltimore Corps and Williamsport Corps.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Then, the day that Hurricane Rita hit, the already scheduled crew to go to Gulfport was re-routed to New Orleans, Louisiana where Camp Hope had already packed-up and began to set-up by the leadership of FEMA. This crew was from Washington, DC Corps, Williamsport, PA Corps, and Victor and Debbie LaValla, training to open a corps in Hartford, Connecticut. We engaged the Disaster Relief Unit for this maiden voyage.
Because of the clear designated markings on the unit, we were able to get into areas that the National Guard were not allowing other vehicles into. We were able to reach people that Camp Hope and other Christian organizations were unable to reach. So the leadership decided to have us serve meals from the Disaster Relief Unit for the rest of the time we were there. We would take out hot meals in the morning for breakfast, swing by for lunch and then later for dinner. We would then return to help clean pots and pans used to cook the meals in preparation for the next day.
Bayou La Batre, Alabama
We have continued our Disaster Relief work when we planned a trip this March through Nazarene Compassion Ministries when I searched the web to find other ministries to work with for victims of hurricanes.
After working on the New Orleans team, I realized that trying to go down ourselves without having a larger organization to work through would be a waste of time and money on our part. The Nazarene Compassion Ministries were looking for people with construction skills to help re-build homes in southern Alabama in a small town that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. They set-up the work based on the skills of the volunteers and also provided the materials for re-building.
We took a nine man team of carpenters, roofers, drywall men and painters on a 12 day trip. These men were from the Washington, DC Corps, Williamsport, PA Corps, and Canton, OH Corps. We again took the Disaster Relief Unit and because of the cooking facilities on the DRU, we were able to be self-contained and take care of all of our meals.
While there, we replaced 4 roofs and repaired a 5th. We drywalled several rooms in two houses and did all of the drywall tape and spackling in two homes, preparing them for painting. We laid two floors of vinyl flooring and spent a day working at His Place Ministries, a depo for water, food, cleaning supplies, clothing and furniture used by the Nazarene ministry to supply those who have lost everything. We worked on several problematic areas they were struggling with while there.
Because of the size of our group, we had to also take a 15 passenger van and we rented a Uhaul Trailer (6x10) for the trip. The one-way rental was over $550.00 and although it was a necessary need, we determined not to rent again. Had we rented round trip, three such trips would have paid for a new trailer that we would own.
Upon returning, we were able to purchase this 6 x 12 trailer to add to our disaster fleet.
On The Road Again!
Please pray for us. We have planned our next trip. We will be taking 9 volunteers back to Bayou La Batre, Alabama on May 17th and return May 27th. We are trying to get all of the corps represented on this trip.