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Stories of hope

December 2021, FRONTLINES

Record-Breaking Generosity

In the early hours of the morning of November 14th, tables are being set up in an empty church parking lot in Arlington, Texas. Pallets of canned vegetables, pasta, peanut butter, and other food items are being unloaded from trucks and arranged in rows.

It’s not just an average Sunday morning. In a few hours, people will start to arrive. This is a day that many of them have been looking forward to for months—an opportunity to come together and serve.

It all began in 2017 when the children’s ministry staff at Fielder Church went to volunteer at the Children’s Hunger Fund Distribution Center in Dallas. They came back to the church office, excited to share with everyone about the opportunity to pack Food Paks for children in need.

“We have a missional vision here at Fielder,” shared Pastor Jared Yates, Missions Pastor at Fielder Church. “We have a desire for our people to live sent. We want them to inhale and exhale the gospel and make disciples who do the same. We don’t want to just inhale and breathe in the gospel; we want to exhale it out in the community, in the city around us. The food packing event gives us the opportunity to exhale the gospel.”

In 2017, Fielder Church held a Mobile Food Pak event in their parking lot and filled 5,000 Food Paks. The next year, they filled 7,000 Food Paks. The year after that, they filled 10,000 Food Paks.

In 2020, the staff at Fielder Church decided to still participate in a Mobile Food Pak event, despite the fact that they hadn’t gathered together since before the pandemic began and half the congregation was watching services online. “We had precautions in place,” Pastor Yates shared, “and everybody came, and they were so hungry to serve together.” Fielder Church filled 12,000 Food Paks that year.

This year, Fielder participated in their fifth Mobile Food Pak event with Children’s Hunger Fund. For Doug and Michelle Gatton, it’s something they’ve done every year. “We really appreciate that there is an entity that allows us to give back,” Doug shared.

For first-time volunteer Victoria Aguilera, the design of the Food Pak itself made an impact on her. “It’s so inclusive,” she shared. “It makes the [recipients] feel seen and known.”

In just under two hours, volunteers across Fielder Church’s three campuses filled a total of 15,000 Food Paks  surpassing their own record from the year before for the most Food Paks filled at a mobile event.

“I’ve just been floored by seeing the excitement within our church body,” Pastor Yates shared, “and the growing number of people who are using this as a next step on their missional journey of sharing the gospel and growing in their burden of saying, ‘if I have the gospel, if I have the Holy Spirit, I’m a missionary wherever God’s placed me.’” We are so grateful for our friends at Fielder Church and their commitment to “live sent” and deliver hope to suffering children.

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