The North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not only seeking to care for its own during this COVID-19 crisis, but to be the hands and feet of Jesus and reach out to those around us who are suffering. Through Adventist Community Services (ACS), we are pushing out more than $1.5 million to assist our local churches in providing food to our neighbors through food pantries. ACS is also partnering with other church organizations to do what they can to make a difference. I appreciate our team at our headquarters and those in local fields who are working to make a difference. Together we are stronger!Bonita Shields, Vice President for Ministries, North American Division
UPDATE – may 5, 2020
- Minnesota Conference has eight ACS food pantries. Minneapolis First Church has been serving their community for over ten years through their food pantry operations and over 20 with clothing. South Saint Paul Hispanic Church which is another active ACS Center has been serving their community for over three years.
- Mountain View Conference has three ACS food pantries in West Virginia. The Grace Community Church in Logan is currently putting together food baskets and dropping them off on the porches of needy families. Due to COVID-19, they are somewhat limited like everyone else. When possible they will be opening a feeding facility/homeless shelter with cots, showers, food, Bible studies, job opportunities, and etc. in partnership with the Homeless Coalition of WV. The Frostburg SDA Food Pantry is currently serving 30 families, or 75 to 90 persons with food products. The RHEMA CHRISTIAN CENTER has everything in place to start a new food pantry when quarantine is lifted. The food pantry will be in association with the Friends-R-Fun Clinic and Daycare.
- Northern New England Conference has ten ACS food pantries. One of the active ones are White Memorial Food Pantry in Portland, Maine, which is open every Thursday morning and serves about 500 families per month. Many of those served are recent immigrants who are very hard hit by job losses during the shutdown. The food pantry is well known in the community and has a good relationship with the regional food bank and a commercial bakery. Auburn SDA Church’s Food Pantry in Auburn, Maine, is open one day a week providing fruit, produce, rice and beans. They serve a population of particularly limited means, and also deliver food boxes to people with mobility issues.
- Potomac Conference has ten ACS food pantries. Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington (ACSGW) serves hundreds of meals and food boxes per week to a large population of the Maryland portion of the conference. This center is sponsored by several regional SDA churches. Petersburg SDA Food Pantry in Virginia is serving pre-packaged boxes and bags of food, hygiene, sanitary supplies, and etc. based on family size. Selected volunteers are assisting seniors and physically-challenged clients by taking their items to their vehicle. This pantry is feeding 75 seniors in the area who have had their weekly meal deliveries canceled. Moreover, they’re delivering daily meals to a “rather large” mobile home community of little-to-no income families.
The Piney Forest ACS Center normally provides a weekly open day for needy community members to come and register for food, clothing, and other support. During the COVID-19 period, clients must call ahead with their needs. Volunteers purchase, pack, and deliver the required items which are left on the client’s porch to maintain social distancing. Community Praise Church (CPC) partners with two other community organizations—Carpenters Shelter Staff and Residents and Alive Alexandria. CPC, formerly named Community Praise Center, provides lunch meals to homeless, vulnerable, and workers who serve them in the Alexandria area. Beltsville Adventist Community Center (BACC) works closely with local government and community organizations to help those hardest hit economically in Beltsville and the surrounding areas. During the COVID-19 response, pre-packaged meals and purchased food baskets are provided through a curb-side pick-up program in the BACC parking lot.
- Guam-Micronesia Mission does not have any formal food pantries. However, they have churches that engage in feeding programs. The Agat SDA Church has been actively operating a food pantry for COVID relief. Additionally, a youth mission trip that was cancelled due to the pandemic distributed food that was donated for the project to needy families. GMM is working with the individual islands to determine the relative needs.
- Oklahoma Conference has eight ACS food pantries. Joseph’s Storehouse Food Pantry in Muskogee, and Jay Food Pantry in Jay are two of the active ACS facilities serving communities in the state of Oklahoma.
- Wisconsin Conference has five ACS food pantries. The Milwaukee Central SDA Church’s food pantry has opened its doors to anyone in need in the area. They have been helping people who are unemployed with their rent. They also went to the extent of covering hotel expenses for a lady with her child for a few days when they became homeless. The Milwaukee Central Hispanic, Madison Community, and Beloit SDA churches have all been helping their communities with non-perishable food, personal hygiene items, and other needs by whatever means possible.
Update – April 23, 2020
- British Columbia Conference has ten ACS food pantries. The Better Living Center’s Courthouse Ministry engages in hot meal programs that helps around 300 court attendees a year. McBride Church has a food hamper and a food bank program, too.
- Iowa-Missouri Conference has nine active ACS Centers. The Around Town Mobile Food Pantry serves over 500 people monthly in the Des Moines area. The St. Louis ACS Center, Gallatin ACS and Centralia SDA food pantries are also continuing their operations. Golden Valley SDA Church in Clinton, MO is part of the local food bank network and they have monthly food drop off drive-throughs that serve a large number of people.
- ACS Centers in Nevada-Utah, Georgia-Cumberland, and Pennsylvania conferences are currently engaged in drive-through food distribution, as well.
- Lake Region Conference has 14 ACS food pantries who are doing magnificent work. The Flint ACS Center continues to serve over 200 people a week with food and water. The Capitol City Food Pantry has done exemplary work over the years, serving their community daily from 1 am – 1 pm. They help hundreds every week by distributing food and clothing.
- Southern California Conference has 31 food pantries which are spread out across five counties. There are so many churches that are giving away free food. The 54th Street Church has been distributing meals for several years now. It is one of several churches that’s located in the heart of South-Central Los Angeles. The other church is the University SDA Church. Both churches minister to hundreds of families every other week. The families in these communities are dependent upon these ministries to keep food on the table, especially now with the COVID-19 and the loss of jobs.