A unique fresh food ministry was started about three months ago on Rt. 23 in Elverson at The Living Rock Bible Church. The ministry provides food to the needy, and is part of a program based out of Colorado which contacts various restaurants in the area to ask what they do with their excess food.
Hunger is a reality in our region. The rising cost of food, combined with today’s economy, has restructured many lives. People that were laid off have to take part-time jobs or work two jobs or accept lower pay. A mother supporting her children alone often has a difficult time stretching the budget for food. Among the sick and elderly are those who do not have a chance to get tasty fresh food. Many are often the working poor, and all can use a helping hand.
“Christ is the bread of life, we pray that they might come to see him both physically and spiritually in our gift of food,” said Living Rock Pastor David Groh.
The premise is based on the concept that local restaurants and stores frequently throw away their excess food on a daily basis - good food that the hungry can eat. The church acts as a bridge to bring the food to share with the needy at their new Food Cellar in the church, which is located at 2672 Ridge Road.
Pastor Groh journeys out three times a week to pick up the food and bring it to the church, where it is frozen or refrigerated as needed (nothing is prepared at the church). Cash donations allowed the church to purchase a new freezer and refrigerator – which are packed full at times thanks to the generous donations. A sign is displayed outside of the church to inform the public of their location. The room from where the food is distributed is accessed from the back of the building in order to afford privacy to visitors.
“The following morning the food is placed on tables. The room is nice with music playing. Volunteers staff the Food Cellar and help the people as needed. They are always willing to lend a listening ear to let them know they are loved and supported and that we stand behind them. We try to establish hope in the face of despair,” Pastor Groh said.
So, what is on the menu? Various sandwiches including tuna, chicken, and turkey; salads including Caesar salads, Southwest chicken and tossed salads; croissants; muffins; bagels; cookies; baked goods; fried chicken; fresh fruit cups; yogurts; Activia; potato chips; Chips-ahoy, Auntie Ann’s soft pretzels; assorted drinks including, juices, teas and sodas. It is the luck of the draw. Each day brings different items.
The vision of the ministry is growing, as local farmers and gardeners are offering their freshly grown fruit and produce from their upcoming crops. Anyone interested in donating please contact Pastor Groh at 610-286-3633.
On Sundays the congregation is welcome to take what is left of the food so it does not go to waste. By Sunday afternoons the stocks are empty, and each Monday starts a new week and a new supply of food.
Pastor Groh said that there is a different generational presence among the volunteers that work in the food cellar.
“You might meet teens, college students, young and middle aged adults, as well as seniors. The people are starting to come and hang around and start to talk to the people manning the food cellar at the time,” he said. “People are a little apprehensive at first, but as people come, they realize we are helping them out and that our motives are pure.”
The ministry has been created for the community, and no one will be turned away. No registration is required and no questions are asked. There is only the fact that one has a need, and at Living Rock Bible Church the door is open wide. Their prayer is simple. “Christ said they will know you by your love.”
The Living Rock Bible Church Food Cellar has the following hours of operation:
Tuesday morning: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Thursday late afternoon: 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday morning: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Contact Living Rock Bible Church by phone at 610-286-3633 or visit online at www.livingrockbiblechurch.org
Find the Tri County Record on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TriCountyRecord, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TriCountyRecord, and search for Berks-Mont News, our six-publication newsgroup, on Google Plus.