In the first six months of 2015, the Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) program touched a lot of lives. We fed lunch to 7,288 people. Our Fresh Market shared 216,000 pounds of produce with 13,256 people. We provided 360 hours of health education. While the numbers are big, today I was reminded that the most important number is one. Ministry is not about mass distribution of information or food, it is about one-on-one relationships.
I rediscovered this as this morning I accompanied people of Epworth UMC as they distributed food around their community. When we have extra produce, we call Epworth to see what they can use. Today I went to see where that produce goes. I learned that it goes to people, one at a time.
Members of Epworth load their trunks with fruits, vegetables, dairy, paper products, and today backpacks filled with school supplies specific to the children they know. Then, these cars drive to two dozen specific addresses of people they have spent years building relationships with: a woman caring for nine children, a man and his children abandoned by his wife, a mother and her children who once lived in a hotel who the people of Epworth helped find housing.
Trunks are opened and a food market appears in driveways and in front of apartment complexes. People self-select what they need. One at a time.
This was no mere distribution of food. More was opened than trunks; hearts were opened. Hearts of people who know the names of each other’s children, share each other’s stories, joys, and struggles. Tables of grace were presented with mangoes, onions, and backpacks. But around those tables, lives were shared and the body of Christ formed.