Are You Hungry?

Friend of Pace, Bill Pike, encourages Methodists to take action to address food needs in the Richmond area during the pandemic.

Are You Hungry?

I am very, very lucky.

In my 67 years of living, I have never been without food.

I have no concept of what it is like not to have access to
food— three daily meals, and snacks if I want them.

Our refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, and pantry all contain food.

In our neighborhood, there are six grocery stores within very
easy driving distance. I can walk to one of those stores.

Even though COVID-19 has turned the world upside down,
my access to food has not been significantly disrupted. As I
stated earlier, I am very, very lucky.

In my work at Trinity United Methodist Church, I have learned
that families in the city of Richmond and the surrounding
counties have had their access to food disrupted. Often this
has been a first time occurrence for these families. This
change is usually attributed to loss of employment from

Since the middle of March on Fridays, our church has been
collecting food items for Feed More and food pantries at
Welborne and Sherbourne United Methodist churches.

While our support has been steady, we have recently learned
that these outlets and others like them in our community are
struggling to keep their shelves stocked. When this happens,
the needs of the people who depend upon Feed More,
Welborne, and Sherbourne can’t be met.

A headline in the Monday, October 5, 2020 edition of the
Richmond Times-Dispatch caught my attention: U.S. faces
shortage of up to 8 billion meals in next year. The article
went on to state that: “22.3 million Americans are going
without food sometimes or often.”

COVID-19 has spiked this surge, but also our disasters
related to hurricanes and wildfires have added to it.

Bottom line—this food crisis isn’t going away anytime soon.

Earlier in the summer, Katie Gooch, director of the Wesley
Foundation at Pace/VCU initiated an effort to organize the
almost 70 Methodist churches in the Richmond district to
evaluate the needs in the communities the churches serve.

In those Zoom meetings conversation has centered upon how
to connect with people who have a wide range of needs in our
current environment. Housing, transportation, schools,
refugees, mental health, and food have been the constants.

But in a recent meeting, food was identified as a critical need.
Whether providing food for assorted community outlets or
figuring out how to safely provide volunteers to help with the
distribution, this has become an urgent short term goal.

Katie and a team of talented VCU students at Pace are
working to connect congregations to the food organizations
that match up geographically to their neighborhoods. This will
also include direct communication to the senior pastors at
each church in coordination with the Richmond District
Superintendent, Dr. Hyo Lee.

The Pace/VCU website will provide information about how
you individually or as a part of your church can get involved.

Even with Thanksgiving and Christmas rapidly approaching,
the urgency to collect food now can’t wait.

So please don’t wait.

Our communities need you, me, we, us— now.

Remember, the next time you feel hungry imagine your
kitchen, your pantry, and refrigerator with no food.

What would you do?

How would you feel if you found the courage to visit your local
food pantry only to find that their shelves were empty too?

We can’t let this happen.

As a Trinity member stated to me a few weeks ago when he
brought in 25 cases of assorted food—“it is the least I can do.”

Those words came straight from his heart.

We need to put our hearts to work, our communities need us.

And in truth, I need to think carefully about James Chapter 2
verses 14-17:

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Clearly, this is a time when I need to put my faith into action.

How about you? How about your church?