San Antonio church keeps food flowing_110303

Posted: 10/31/03

San Antonio church keeps food flowing,
because 'children need to eat'

By John Hall

Texas Baptist Communications

SAN ANTONIO--Children need to eat.

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Posted: 10/31/03

San Antonio church keeps food flowing,
because 'children need to eat'

By John Hall

Texas Baptist Communications

SAN ANTONIO–Children need to eat.

The phrase sounds obvious. But a daily reminder of that truth drives Charlie Martin to carry out his ministry.

Martin, a deacon at St. Stephen Baptist Church in San Antonio, coordinates a food pantry ministry at the church that touches the lives of as many as 800 families a month.

With a small budget, Martin and 10 volunteers purchase supplies from the food bank and distribute them on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Each distributed bag is customized for the family's size and needs.

Volunteers get to know some of the people who regularly receive food from the pantry and help them however they can. As long as there is food, each individual receives some supplies, no matter the reason they are hungry, Martin said.

The reason is simple: People need to eat.

“If people need food, we don't question what they do, we just give them food,” Martin said. “We do it for anyone who comes by.”

In addition to the scheduled distributions, the church keeps some food on hand for emergency situations. Those supplies have proved especially important during the 9-year-old effort, feeding infants and children when their families' cupboards were bare.

“I think it has an impact on people's lives, especially the ones with children,” Martin said. “Children need to eat.”

The church's hunger ministry is partially funded by the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, facilitated by the Baptist General Convention of Texas Christian Life Commission. This year, $20,000 has been reserved from the targeted offering budget of $1 million to support hunger ministries throughout San Antonio Baptist Association.

The food pantry provides an avenue to show people the church cares and is there to help, Martin reported. People are grateful they can feed their children and provide sustenance for their family.

Workers present a Bible lesson and an inspirational tract to each family that comes for food “just to let them know we're thinking about them and let them know there is a God they need to serve,” Martin said.

“We're quite proud we can be a blessing to people in that way.”

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