On a prominent street corner in the city of Colton, California, members of Iglesia Impacto De Amor set up tables and unload boxes of food. The weekly food distribution is well-known throughout the city of Colton, and families in need of food assistance know where to go to receive help from the church.
For Pastor Joel Gomez and his congregation, food is an important part of their church culture. In addition to their weekly food distribution, they serve a hot meal every Tuesday night for fifteen to twenty families and gather as a congregation for a multicultural meal after church every week.
When Pastor Joel was first introduced to the Children’s Hunger Fund Food Pak program, he knew it would fit well with his church’s ministry model and jumped at the chance to incorporate Food Paks into their ministry.
At their weekly food distributions, church volunteers share about the church’s Food Pak ministry and collect information cards from families in need of additional help. An average of forty-five new cards are filled out every week. Volunteers will follow up with these families to schedule a Food Pak delivery to their home.
Iglesia Impacto De Amor Colton has been a Mercy Network church with Children’s Hunger Fund since April 2022 and consistently serves over 300 families each month. Out of Pastor Joel’s congregation of 180 people, 150 of them participate in food distribution. “I presented the Food Pak ministry to the church as a great way to share the gospel,” Pastor Joel shared. “They were willing to do the job.” But for Pastor Joel, food is just a part of the picture. The Food Pak ministry is an opportunity for members of his congregation to form meaningful relationships.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Though the month of observance dates back thirty years, the call to honor the work of our church leaders goes back to Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 13:7, 17), and it isn’t limited to one month.
At Children’s Hunger Fund, we regularly give thanks for the pastors dedicated to delivering hope to families in need. For the pastors of Mercy Network churches across the US and around the world who are actively seeking the lost and hurting in their community and rallying their congregations to visit families in need and deliver hope. We also appreciate the pastors who rally their congregations to support the ministry by filling Food Paks and raising funds to provide meals.
After being introduced to Children’s Hunger Fund in the Fall of 2021, Pastor Ron Wages of Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas, was motivated to get his congregation involved. In early 2022, Pastor Ron encouraged his congregation to take home empty Food Paks to fill and return. The church filled 563 Food Paks and gave an additional $1,800 in donations. The children’s pastor incorporated CHF into their VBS program with Project Coin Pak. The children raised $988—enough to provide almost 4,000 meals! In May, Gateway Church Dallas held their annual Serve Day. Pastor Ron worked with CHF staff to arrange a food packing event on the Gateway campus. Over 400 people showed up to fill Food Paks—a hundred people over what was expected! Together, they filled 2,250 Food Paks.
Conversations have already begun for food packing events in the future and what Serve Week at Gateway will look like in 2023.
This Pastor Appreciation Month—and every month—we recognize the dedication of pastors across all aspects of our ministry. We are grateful for you and for the passion you inspire in your community to help deliver hope to suffering children around the world.