As soon as the weather begins to change, that means it is time to begin to shift our focus to the Holiday Season. For us at Lake Township FISH, that means that we begin to increase the food on our shelves as we prepare for the influx of families in need of help. You see, it always seems to happen that the summer months are slower. Either people are traveling, or growing their own food, or seeking assistance elsewhere. However, when the time seems to slow down and everyone spends more time indoors, the need for more food increases, as does the need for utility assistance as heaters turn on. So, in turn, that means a busy season for us at FISH. I know that the beginning of this season can feel daunting and heavy, but I like to look forward in hope. This season may seem busy and dark and cold, but - it also is when we get to witness the biggest outpouring of support for the community. We have the privilege to witness churches serve alongside each other, regardless of beliefs and denominations, in order to come together and serve for one mission: to live Christ’s love by serving our neighbors. We get to witness the hope embodied in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
The world feels heavy today. We see anger and sadness in our community and it is hard trying to make sure that we keep it from taking over our homes. So, what I do, is I cling to this hope - that we are all here for a purpose. It may seem foggy and unclear what that is exactly, however, we know that God didn’t put us here by accident. He put us here as members of one body, in Christ, that we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus. So, I urge you, when your days seem long and the weeks fly by, hold on to the good. Lean in to Jesus. Remember who He has made you to be, and cling to the hope that we are all in this together and you are not alone.
This is my prayer, too: that every person that we are able to assist feels that hope within them and that they do not feel alone. Whether they are walking into our facility, or whether they are calling in to receive financial assistance, I pray that they feel loved, seen, and supported.
Our food pantry is open twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays, and families can come twice a month to receive free groceries. So far in 2021, we have completed 1,972 services at the food pantry for 267 different families which include 826 individuals. We are set up as a little grocery store in the lower level of the Hartville Thrift Shoppe.
Throughout the last year, we had been operating with everything prepacked and in a drive-thru style distribution, however, this past May we were able to reopen to a choice pantry. This means that families that come shop can do just that: shop! They get to choose from the shelves exactly what their family needs and can use. It is a special time to be able to see our clients be able to take ownership over their groceries and leave our space with carts full of food.
If you are interested in coming to visit our pantry, or interested in serving with us, Bethany Mennonite Church has very graciously offered to sponsor volunteers on the second Thursday of the month! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your outpouring of support with food, finances, and prayer. We hope to see you soon!