In 2010, over 17 million households in the United States were food insecure. Almost 50 million people in a situation in which they might not have food to eat. These numbers are very difficult to comprehend. I am not surprised by them knowing that many Americans have struggled over the last few years with the sluggish economy. It is just hard to imagine, and realize, that so many families in the greatest country in the world are battling poverty and hunger.
Thankfully, there are a number of great organizations in our communities that look out for those in need. We have had the pleasure to learn about and spend time with a number of them over the last few months. This week was no different. We, as a family, had the opportunity to spend some time with the New Life Community Meal Ministry in Huntington, Indiana. For the last five years, New Life has been serving free meals to anyone in the community with no questions asked. The ministry has grown since its inception in the basement of the church. Today, the ministry has a dedicated location downtown that allows them to reach more people. In 2011, this small ministry based on donations served over 14,000 meals.
We volunteered to help serve the Saturday evening meal. Kim was the team lead on this particular evening and it did not take long for us to feel her passion for the ministry. As the lead, she created the menu for the meal being served. On this particular night, the menu consisted of spaghetti, bread, and a cookie. We began the meal by blessing the food through prayer. Our role was to dish out the food and serve it to each individual in attendance. We served each tray of food with a smile and consistently received one in return. We felt the gratitude of those being served. The ministry provides a meal, fellowship, and at times scripture. For an hour each day, the New Life Community Meal Ministry gives individuals a place to gather for nourishment. If you speak to those who attend, they receive much more than that. After the meal was finished, we cleaned tables and washed dishes in preparation for the next day’s service. The entire volunteer experience lasted about two hours. It was a quick and easy way to get involved in the community of Huntington. Quick and easy doesn’t take away from the impact it has on the community. It does, however, give those who live busy lives an outlet in which to get involved.
The New Life Community Meal Ministry provides a much-needed service to city of Huntington. The ministry is small and relies heavily on volunteers. There are no paid staff members on board so volunteers do all of the work. It is a great organization to volunteer with as a family. We were blessed to volunteer with another family during our experience. Serving a meal to those in need gives each member of the family a new and different perspective. My children have never gone without a meal. Exposing them to the work done by organizations like the New Life Community Meal Ministry teaches them lessons that I cannot. Once again, my family has grown and developed thanks this volunteer opportunity. New Life needs volunteers. Due to scheduling conflicts, there are many days in March where hands are needed. If you are looking for a great opportunity to serve with a great organization, visit www.newlifefellowshipchurch.org to learn how you can get involved.