Jun 18 2014

Community Suppers at the ECLC– Part 1(How it all started)

I guess it all started with Jesus who said all kinds of things about feeding people. Sometime in 2011, I felt called to start a feeding ministry, but the timing seemed wrong as the parish I served in in Texas was in the middle of a search for a new rector. Anyway, I started reading all I could get my hands on about soup kitchens and I even visited a few of them. Then my husband and I moved back to New Mexico and the bishop assigned me to a parish I had served in before we moved to Texas. The parish had a new rector and the parish seemed to be in good order. The new rector, Judy, asked me to help with the outreach of the parish. I formed a parish Outreach Council in the fall of 2012 to help in identifying the needs, concerns, and hopes of our surrounding communities. Members on the Outreach Council included leaders in ministries having an outreach or service component. We opened each meeting in prayer and then had a brief Bible study. The first few meetings were spend identifying who Jesus said to care for and what resources we had on hand in our parish. We generated a long list of both. Hunger, poverty, and shelter were of great concern. One of the big concerns in our community is food insecurity. Our list of resources was surprisingly long as we are a relatively small parish without a lot of money.
Among the list of the resources identified were a certified kitchen, a parish hall, and $2500 given for Outreach from a memorial fund. Without knowing about my call to feed people, one of the Council members said the parish could offer a free meal to people. The rest of the Council seemed on board with the concept and we decided to do a little research and report on this at the next meeting. I talked with my daughter and sister who are both dietitians and they both suggested that I use Food For Fifty, a college textbook. I bought that book and another, How to Start a Soup Kitchen. In addition, I had lots of notes and articles that I had collected for a few years. So, with these in hand, I was ready for the next meeting.