During a weekly pastors video conference this past April, several pastors shared the ongoing success of their food distribution ministries. For those who had a ministry already established, many saw a dramatic increase in needs arise as a result of COVID-19. Michel Rodriguez, pastor of the St. Elmo, Ala., Church, shared that while they typically serve just over 100 families on a distribution day, their most recent event served more than 200.
Rodriguez serves in both English and Spanish-speaking ministries, and enlisted the help of the nearby Hispanic Adventist pastors to complete the distribution. Among them was Cristofe Guzman, pastor of several Hispanic churches along the Gulf Coast, who had held a similar event one week prior. Dwayne Campbell, pastor of the Auburn-Opelika, Ala., Metro Church, worked with his church to distribute 1,200 pounds of food as part of their monthly distribution partnership with the Food Bank of East Alabama. Fernando Leite, pastor of the Cody Road Church in Mobile, Ala., also reported ongoing successful distribution of food to those who needed it most.
A commonality between all of these ministries and partnerships is that they were established before a major crisis arrived. Because the churches were distribution points in good standing, for many it was a non-issue to support the increased need of their communities. The success also speaks to the importance of how consistent the volunteers have been in their respective ministries. While these types of ministries have moments where it is difficult to discern the positive impact, it is in times of great need that their effect is felt in a significant way. Several other churches through the Conference have participated in these types of services for years, and now many more are encouraged to seek partnership with their communities to be ready for the next crisis.
Gulf States | June 2020