Feed the Hungry UK’s Communications Officer, Gemma Curran, writes…
The church in the UK is grappling with a significant challenge: how do we reach this generation? Some communities are increasingly unchurched and maybe even hostile to Christianity. Others are incredibly diverse and disconnected from one another. Yet they all share one thing: a longing for meaningful connection.
Julie’s unusual party
When Julie heard about Hand to Hand food packing events with Feed The Hungry UK, she was inspired. At these events teams of people work together to pack nutritionally balanced rice meals and seal them into packs. The meals go to children facing extreme food poverty in nations across the world. On Julie’s next birthday, instead of a party, she invited 30 family and friends to come and pack food for Feed The Hungry UK, using her church as the venue.
Julie’s church saw how well her event was engaging people and drawing them into church. They began inviting people in the local community to help them pack food for children living in poverty. Some local head teachers came along to one event and loved what they saw. So, working alongside the church, they ran their own events in their schools.
What started with an unusual party for Julie became an activity for the whole local community – offering a unique opportunity to share the love of Jesus.
Why does a food packing event work?
Let’s not over-blow it: a food pack is not an instant fix to all your outreach needs. But the context it provides can become a remarkable bridge to gospel conversations. Churches like Julie’s in Folkestone have seen the opportunity a food pack brings to create long-term connections with the local community. A food pack could also be a great shared activity for a local Churches Together group.
Even better, every food pack shares an international goal: to help people facing food poverty around the world.
Food and Spirit
Rose couldn’t wait to speak to us when we arrived in Zimbabwe. She lived at home with her disabled son and her grandson, George. As the only earner in the house, life was hard. But then Feed The Hungry UK started providing food through George’s school. She told us that a huge weight has been lifted from her shoulders. Now she knows that he receives a good, nutritious meal every day and thrives in school as a result.
Then Rose asked a life-changing question: “Why are you doing this for us?” We told her it was because of Jesus. As a result of this conversation, Rose and her son gave their lives to Christ. The physical gift of food led to the spiritual gift of salvation. Hallelujah!
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jesus, John 10:10b)
When Jesus offers ‘life’ he is offering both spiritual and physical life. That’s why Feed The Hungry UK provides food to some of the most needy people in the world, many on the brink of starvation. Food matters: it is a practical outworking of the Kingdom of God.
We deliver food predominantly through schools, like George’s in Zimbabwe. By offering food through schools, children are incentivised to attend, and the food makes them healthy enough to learn effectively.
A long-term, international impact
This is when the food packed by churches like Julie’s begins to have profound, long-term impact. Higher education levels start breaking the poverty cycle for George’s generation. Over time, his community becomes more prosperous, more stable and more sustainable.
But the high-nutrition food we deliver does so much more than feed people: every meal George and his classmates eat introduces them to the love of Jesus. The meals open hearts like Rose’s to the saving grace of God. This is full life, in body and in spirit.
Churches Together and Hand to Hand food packing
Food packing events are a powerful way to build local connections with the communities around us, whatever the size, shape or denomination of your church or Churches Together group.
The cost for a group putting on a food pack is dependent on various factors, such as the size and location of the event and the number of meals they’d like to pack. We work with groups of all sizes and budgets. Visit the Hand to Hand website for more information.
n.b. Children’s names were changed to protect their identity.
Photo credits: © Feed the Hungry UK