DEACON'S DIALOGUE, THE REV. PORTIA SWEET-
“Feed my sheep” (John 21:17), Jesus told Peter when Peter insisted he loved Jesus. That instruction to Peter applies to us today with increasing importance and urgency. St. Andrew’s parishioners and school families do many things to obey Jesus’ instruction to “Feed my sheep,” including volunteering at and donating food and supplies to Heights Interfaith Ministries (HIM) Food Pantry.
Friday, July 3 will mark the 6th anniversary of the pantry, which serves residents of ZIP codes 77007, 77008 and 77009 on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Many clients are what are known as “the working poor”, meaning there is a wage earner in the household, but income is insufficient to provide shelter, food, and other life necessities. The rising cost of groceries has increased the need and anxiety of these folks, while simultaneously decreasing food donations. Other clients are aging or disabled in one or more ways. All are hungry and all are children of the God we serve.
The pantry is supported by individuals and organizations who provide food, money and time, just as St. Andrew’s does. Money is used to purchase food from the Houston Food Bank, as the pantry is a certified member of that network. Alice Bongers, Pantry Director, recently shared some invoices for her monthly purchases. On March 25, her delivery included 20 cases of Mac & Cheese, 24 boxes each, at $9.11 a case - total $182.29; and 10 cases (24 cans ea.) Beef Stew for $183.79. The invoice total was $994.82 for 3900 pounds of food delivered. All the food would be gone by month’s end.
On April 25, I served with others at the pantry, when 62 clients/families were assisted. The shelves were not bare, but there was no milk, no canned fruit and a limited supply of canned beans and other items. On that day I took two shopping bags of egg cartons and was greeted as though I was bringing gold. There were eggs in the cooler but no containers. Sincere thanks to all who met this need.
I am writing this to let you know how important your involvement is for this vital ministry in our community and how your efforts and offerings work. Whenever you can add extra items to your grocery cart or bring plastic bags or egg cartons to church, or volunteer on Saturdays or Thursdays or simply write a check to the HIM Food Pantry, please do so generously and with gratitude for your own blessings. There are special HIM envelopes in the narthex for your monetary donations. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”