by Alex Pinilla
On a typical Wednesday morning, more than 150 families gather at University Church in Orlando to receive food, clothing, and spiritual support. More than two years ago, members felt called to revitalize the food pantry. The ministry’s impact has grown beyond expectations.
Partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank and the USDA food program, University Church provides more than 10,000 pounds of food to its clients every week. More than 40 volunteers from the church and community have donated hundreds of combined service hours preparing food for distribution.
Through surveys conducted by Bible Worker Mike Shellong, community service team members identified other opportunities for ministry. As a result, seminars on nutrition, resume workshops, and English as a Second Language classes are taught.
When retired teacher Nohemy Bradley saw the sign advertising free English classes, she thought it was a marvelous way for the church to help others. “Now, as a volunteer, I feel so blessed to be part of such a wonderful project.”
The church has opened its doors to the community, and the community is opening its heart to the church as recipients of the ministry have joined members in Wednesday evening and Sabbath worship services. One beneficiary, Jackie Van Dike, who also volunteers in the food pantry, was baptized March 19 as a result of this ministry.