Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why We Care About Feeding Our Neighbors

The partnership between Community Presbyterian Church and the Long Island Council of Churches Food Pantry stretches back many years. Currently we collect a food offering on the third Sunday of each month, send teams of volunteers each Thursday and hold the annual Community Food Drive at the beginning of each summer. The early summer collection helps the food pantry meet increased summer demand at a time when donations drop off.

The imperative to feed the hungry and care for our neighbors who are poor runs throughout the Christian and Jewish scriptures. It is a basic ethic, a core value of Christianity. For me, that imperative is most clearly expressed in the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. The people are gathered, they are hungry, food is scarce and Jesus commands his disciples: "you give them something to eat." They were hungry, they had no food, they needed to be fed. There was no income check, no survey regarding who had eaten lunch or breakfast. Jesus just ordered the disciples to feed them. Their order is our order as well.

Hunger in our community is real. Just last week I received a call from a family in Lynbrook - the wife was disabled, the husband had just lost his job and they have four children. The Long Island Council of Churches has been seeing its client lists grow: elderly with high medical costs, those employed in low wage jobs, those squeezed by variable rate, sub prime mortgages, and lately those affected by high gas prices and increasing food costs. As a congregation most of us are blessed with food on our tables and enough income to buy extra groceries on occasion for our neighbors. We were honored to help the family in Lynbrook. We are honored to be one of the largest donors by congregation size to the food pantry.

So I hope you will join with us in following Jesus' mandate to "give them something to eat" by bringing some non-perishable food by the church (12 Nottingham Road, Malverne, NY) on Saturday, June 7 between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. And if you are reading this from afar, buy extra groceries and drop them off at your local food pantry or soup kitchen. And while you are there, find out about volunteering.

Get a map showing the church location

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