Grocery Shopping Challenge

The average American family of four spends over $200 per week on groceries….that is $1000 per month!  According to the Christian Children’s Fund, an average African family of four can eat for $0.82 a day.  As Americans, we live in the wealthiest country in the world.  Poverty is not often visible here.  And when we don’t see it every day, we don’t think about it.

Having a food pantry in our garage makes it pretty easy for us, to think about poverty often.  This is part of our life.  We are faced with poverty every week, sometimes every day.  And we are so glad.  It has continued to turn our minds and hearts towards others and towards Jesus.  But even so, we still find ourselves getting comfortable and entitled to things, routines, and activities that we will never deserve.

So…let’s think about poverty more.  Not in an overwhelming, how-do-we-end-poverty? kind of way.  In a way that is simple, practical, helpful, and hopeful.  Getting our minds off of ourselves and onto others helps move us closer to the path of Jesus.  Even while we shop at the grocery store.

As a family, we do a big first of the month grocery shopping trip and then small trips throughout the rest of the month to get basic items.  We make approximately 6-7 trips to the grocery store per month.  Andy and I assume that everyone who reads this website goes to the grocery store at least once a week, maybe more, maybe even a little less.

What if you bought one extra item every time you went grocery shopping and put it in a bag set aside for the food pantry in your area?  After a whole month of grocery shopping, you would have a full bag.  This seems pretty simple, right?

One item every time you grocery shop.

Put a bag next to your front door, find your local food pantry here (like the Jubilee Food Pantry!), and deliver the bag at the end of the month!

This alone will not end poverty, and this is not our intent with this challenge.  Our intent is to encourage thoughts outside your own family as you stroll down the food-filled isles and help form new habits within the Body of Christ.

We would love to hear from all who decide to join the challenge!  Feel free to share thoughts and make comments.  Even though we are at mid-July, start the challenge now!

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If you build it they will come

We have had quite the past couple of weeks here at the Jubilee Food Pantry. Last week we had 22 families show up, 20 of them Spanish only speakers. Thankfully we had 2 translators here that were able to help us out. It is amazing how much deeper a connection is made when speaking a common language.

(a few of our guests loading up on canned foods)

(our loyal volunteer Lia handing out berries to Sophia and Teresa)

This week an even greater number of guests showed up. Over 200 people received food from 41 different families (quite a bit different from the 2 families that showed up for our grand opening). There is obviously a great need in the community.

We need your help in meeting this need. We are currently running extremely low on several items. Some of the most popular items are: canned fruit, Bisquick, boxed cereal, and dry beans, but we are short in a variety of items, please see the “needed items” list on the right.

(Lia with one of our youngest guests)

We could use more volunteers as well to help us sort and stock between 12-4pm on Tuesdays and from 4-8pm to help meet the needs of our guests. A new feature of our website is a volunteer calendar.  If you are interested in helping out, check out the calendar on the “volunteers” tab at the top of the page for open slots.

We know that the Lord is good and that He will provide. We also greatly covet your prayers, so please continue to lift not only our family up, but our guests as well.

Exponential Blessings

Each week we have had more and more guests – and volunteers! We aren’t about the numbers, but it is interesting to see how the word has spread by what we believe to be word-of-mouth:

May 25th – 2 families
June 1st – 4 families
June 8th – 8 families
June 15th – 10 families
June 22nd – 12 families
June 29th – 16 families
July 6th – 22 families

I guess families only show up in even numbers 🙂 When you calculate how many live in each of these households, this past Tuesday over 100 people were fed!

We have also had a regular corp of volunteers as well, which is very encouraging and a much needed blessing. One family has helped to organize the canned food and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables and another family has come and helped translate (over 90% of the guests at the JFP have been Spanish speakers).

One very encouraging note: as many of you know, our heart is more than distributing food, we really desire that the entire neighborhood comes together to share and commune — a beloved community of disciples loving God and each other. We have had many folks who have come to get food sign up to volunteer as well. In the end, we want folks to look at all of this and see that we did it together, it wasn’t anything that the Coulombes did, but rather, something God did through a community, ultimately pulling back the veil and showing us His Kingdom all around us. Co-workers – rich, poor, farmworkers, teachers, pastors, Hispanic, Anglos – all working to advance His Kingdom!

We are beginning to run low on a few items, check our regularly updated list on the right hand column for an idea of what is needed.