Over the last four years, Community Development for All People’s Loaves and Fishes ministry has served more than 50,000 lunches to some of the most economically struggling and spiritually wonderful people on the South Side of Columbus, Ohio. During this time, we have done more than feed hungry people; relationships have been formed that have transformed Columbus’ South Side. When Loaves and Fishes began in 2011, people sat together at tables who had strained relationships. Today, those same people call each other friend, look out for one another, and have formed a true community.
As always happens in ministry, the people who made this happen have been changed more than the people receiving. The list of people who have contributed is long. This has not been a program solely of Community Development for All People, but has included people and churches across the area.
Next week will be the final week of Loaves and Fishes which makes for many last events:
Last week, a group of United Methodist Women from Scioto Ridge UMC distributed clothes for the last time, having donated thousands of pounds of clothes over the years. These women saw a need in the community and creatively provided people with clothes.
Today, members of Christ UMC served lunch for the last time. They began providing lunch in 2011 and expected to do so for one year. Four years later, they remained faithful in feeding hungry people.
While people ate, a social worker from Columbus Public Health connected people with a wide range of opportunities and resources.
The looming culmination of this ministry is difficult. Chef Jimi McNabb said this morning that for him the end of his involvement feels like death.
However, as Christians, death is always followed by resurrection.
Just this morning, as I drove in to work, a three-minute story played on the radio about the South Side Roots Café and Market, which will provide the meals and community that were initially offered through the South Side Settlement House and for the last four years by Loaves and Fishes. You can read and hear that story at: radio.wosu.org/post/new-cafe-market-serve-public-south-side-residents
A good work has been done, we feel a loss in this time, and yet we find hope that the resurrection power of Christ will create a new thing among us.