Rain or shine, members of the Centerville Seventh-day Adventist Church hand out food boxes the second Tuesday of every month. 

May 1, 2024

Church Tackles Hunger with Food Distributions

 A West Michigan church is helping to tackle hunger by distributing supplemental food boxes to the community. 

Rain or shine, members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Centerville hand out these food boxes the second Tuesday of every month. 

The Southwest Michigan Food Bank provides the food boxes, while the church distributes them to community members in need. 

"Times are getting a little tough, well, more than a little tough for some people," said David Hess, who is an elder at the church. "The price of everything has gone up, and sometimes your money just doesn't stretch from month to month. We're just helping out in the interim to make sure they got food for their children, for themselves. It's a wonderful thing that we're able to do." 

Hess added that the church has been doing this for about four years, and the leftovers from each event are donated to the homeless and domestic assault shelters in the area. 

How it started: When Liz Roberts joined the Adventist church 22 years ago, she fell in love with the outreach aspect of Pathfinders and became involved. Right before Thanksgiving, members would pass out paper bags in the community asking for donations of non-perishable items and the items picked up the next weekend. 

But as time went on, she wanted the church to do even more for the community.  “I'd come up with some other ideas and offer them up to the board and we never really settled on anything,” Roberts recalled. 

After years of prayers, they finally started the fresh food distribution partnership with the Southwest Michigan food bank. Church members would refer families in need and then they began getting referrals from the Michigan Department of Human and Health Services. 

How It Works: Volunteers help bag bulk items and put evangelistic GLOW tracts in each box. When the cars pull in, two adult volunteers walk around to each car, get contact information and how many people live in their household. There's also one youth or a Pathfinder or an Adventurer who goes out with the adults and marks on the car windshield with a chalk crayon how many boxes are going to be picked up. They distribute 175 boxes of food each month.  

Roberts, who serves as the church’s community services director, said the food distribution has increased the church’s visibility. “For years when someone asked me where do you go to church, I would say, ‘Oh, I go to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Centerville. They would look at me like, ‘Where's that? What kind of church is that?’ Now when somebody asks, they're like, ‘Oh, where the fresh food distribution site is?’  

“It's just a great opportunity for us to be able to share our love for our community just like Jesus shared his love for his community when he was here on earth going from city to city preaching, feeding and healing. The outpouring of support from our community and the non-Adventist people who attend the fresh food distribution has been amazing.”  

Republished from WWMT News, with Herald staff