Yesterday, we talked about a simple way to minister to the homeless in our community. Today, I want to talk about some easy ways to feed the hungry.
1. Donate to food pantries, the Salvation Army, or other charities that feed the hungry.
We all have extra canned goods or boxed items in our pantries. We may have items we purchased by mistake or things that our families don't particularly like, or perhaps we were over-zealous when stocking up on a good sale. All of these extras can be donated to food pantries. Also, we can be on the lookout for good deals when items are on sale "buy one get one free" or when we have some good coupons. These may be items we don't normally buy for our families, but they may be appropriate for purchasing and donating to our favorite food bank or soup kitchen. Find out what items your local charity needs and be on the lookout for them.
2. Be prepared with pre-packaged food or fast food gift cards.
What about when we encounter people when we are out and about holding signs like this one:
Many times our heart goes out to these desperate looking people and we want to do something, but we don't know what to do. We are hesitant to give cash to an individual who may use it to buy drugs, liquor, or cigarettes, or we are hesitant to open our wallets only to be robbed. (Or we never have cash on hand anyway -- which would be me!) A potential solution is to have $5 gift cards on hand for local fast-food places or to have a stash of granola bars or other pre-packaged foods that we could hand out of a slightly-opened car window to the hungry strangers we encounter.
3. Give a box of groceries to someone who is out of work.
Sometimes the hungry are not standing on street corners, but are right in our own neighborhoods or churches. If you know someone who is out of work or struggling financially, why not pack up a box of groceries and other necessary items and leave it on their front porch? or in their car? or in the vestibule at church? This can easily be done anonymously, will be fun for your family to do (especially if you ring the doorbell and run!) and will help feed a hungry family!
4. Share single-servings with widows.
This is something I loved to do back in the day when I actually had food left after a meal. ;) If I made a casserole or a pot of soup or stew for my family, I would remove a serving or two and freeze it flat in quart-sized zip-lock bags or small, plastic freezer containers. When I had a few of these saved up in a corner of my freezer, I would take them to a widow from church. This was a simple, painless way for me, as a very busy momma at home with lots of little ones, reach out and minister to those in need, even when I didn't have time for outside ministry.
I'm sure you can think of additional creative ideas of how you can bless those in need in your local neighborhood, church, or community. Please share your ideas in the Comments section! If you've blogged about this topic, feel free to share a link to your post.
"She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."
~ Proverbs 31:20