Open Food Pantry

Open Food Pantry . . . Enjoyed by volunteers and recipients alike

Twice yearly Grace hosts an Open Food Pantry Day. Hundreds of volunteers work to collect, organize and host a day of shopping for individuals and families needing a little extra help. Food, and gifts are provided free and as you'll read below the most significant impact is often felt by those who are fortunate enough to volunteer their time to help another.

Received Friday 12/14/10
These are a number of comments from the most recent Open Food Pantry Day.

Impactful Moments:
•   Seeing the large number of volunteers. –Chuck
•   A lady in tears who was overwhelmed but trusting the Lord to take care of her. – Beverly
•   Talking to people about their faith, family and stories. – Rachel
•   Registering a family with 4 children obviously in need and grateful beyond words. – Bill
•   I spent an hour chatting with a woman waiting for her friend’s daughter to take her home.  She was so sweet and she was always talking about Jesus.  She said to her friend that I was “helping God”.  That made my day. – Michelle
•   Watched a little girl receive her toys – her face lit up!  I was so glad to be able to make her happy. – Katelyn
•   Seeing other volunteers sitting and conversing with our guests in the hospitality room was impactful… the gracious efficiency of the staff in that room as well. – Jon
•   Loved helping to tell the candy cane story while the children made their red and white scarf. What a wonderful job all of the volunteers did and so organized.  Grace is a great ministry to be a part of. – Bettsy
•   Sharing the story of Jesus – getting feedback from the children about their perception of Christmas – Loretta
•   Loved playing with two sweet girls, Brianna and Dianna. – Nina
•   It was impactful seeing the youth volunteers teaching the little ones duets on the piano… seeing/hearing the laughter as volunteers played with puppets with the children. – Jamie
•   I feel the impact was for me, feeling the joy of giving and sharing how God has blessings for us all, and inviting people to come and be part of our family here. – David
•   Seeing so many needy people from all walks of life really made an impact on me.  It was also fun to recognize “with a cheer” those who surrendered their life to Christ. – Rozzie
•   It’s all impactful because when you think about it you know there are people in need of help, but when you actually see it, it makes you want to help so much more. – Candice
•   It was impactful seeing Signs stating “one” or “two” or certain items to makes ure there is enough to go around. – Carol
•   Tony, whose home burned down showed up and Dan & Dan ministered to him as I watched God’s love flowing out to him thru them. – Rick •   To see the faces of the people.  Some were very happy to receive what they were getting. – Sharlene
•   Seeing the children happy to help parents – gathering food for their family. – Richard•   Guests saying maybe they’ll be at the concert tonight…
•   Guest sharing that they’ve been coming two years… are now looking for ways to get involved at Grace. – Heather
•   Watching babies while moms shopped. – The Hare Family
•   Met a couple who he has not been to church for 20 years because of hypocrisy.  Had two real good talks – we’re not perfect, just people.  – Carla
•   Spoke and prayed with a family who was losing their home due to struggling financially.  It brought me back to reality to listen to them and encourage them.  – Johnathan
•   Spoke to a woman who I have seen at two other pantries.  She is now attending because of our Grace.  Husband still not attending. – Amy
•   Barbara, I saw last Christmas and she was so sad because her children/grandchildren were estranged from her.  They are coming to see her this year.  –Amy
•   Heather, suffering with depression allowed me to pray with her for God’s peace and hope! - Amy

Guest Comments:
•   Several guests commented on how much they appreciate the church (GBC) being there for them over an extended period of hard times.
•   Spoke with a couple, the husband out of work – both not Christian – not ready to receive Christ today.  They were very impressed with the love of the people at this church.  Promised to read and pray for God to lead them. – Lisa
•   Spoke with a couple who are grandparents.  Their grandchildren, a boy & girl, living with them.  Grandfather has cancer and out of work.  Their trailer burned down in the Sylmar fire two years ago.  They sometimes attend Shepherd of the Hills church.  Grandson wants to become a Christ follower but grandparents wanted him to wait.  He promised to read pamphlet and pray. – Ann
•   Guests saying how friendly and helpful we are and how beautiful this place “feels”.–Amy
•   One family said they came because we care about them. – Amy
•   The families were so happy and grateful to receive food! –Leanne
•   Families were amazed at how much we were giving out! – Beverly
•   God bless you all.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!
•   One lady said that she loved this church because everyone was so loving and happy and said that she was going to come to the Christmas concert on Sunday. – Katelyn
•   Thank you!!
•   Many were saying how awesome this morning was, all were very grateful to be experiencing this day. – David

Received Friday 5/28/10

As a member of Grace, I greatly appreciate these programs where we can give to the community. My kids learn about giving, helping, sharing, and about meeting other people's needs. When I volunteer, I exercise these qualities too, and get to meet other folks who think likewise. It is exciting! On Saturday, serving in the hospitality room, I had the privilege to meet many "hungry individuals" who came from far and near. Their teary eyes revealed their pain. They left with a cart full of groceries and a heart full of hope. I was able to share how I also first came to the Lord receiving the same grace offered and freely given by this church. Thank you!

Received Friday 5/28/10
I was in the prayer room during our Food Pantry event. I prayed for a lady whose situation was desperate. She had been homeless. She was supporting 12 people all living in the streets and she was in desperate need of food. She told me that she has been searching food from the dumps. Her life was in distress. After hearing her story and realizing her desperation, I talked to the food coordinators so that we can provide extra bag of food for her and also we were able to provide her information about other food pantries in SCV were she can get groceries every week.

Received Wednesday 5/26/10
Sheri Stimson
You can read below the stories shared this last Christmas about the Open Food Pantry Outreach and I'm sure you'll find similar praises from our most recent outreach. Thank you, again! For all the prayer, time and gifts of service the Grace family provided for our May 22 Open Food Pantry Outreach. It was a testimony to the faithfulness of God working through each of you in these difficult economic times... giving sacrificially for the sake of others... following the example of our Savior. We were able to care for 165 families and their children. Praise God for 23 adults who made decisions to follow Christ! We prayed for not only bread but the bread of life and God answered abundantly.

Received Monday 12/21/09
Ethan Espinosa
On Saturday morning it was incredible to see the outcome of God's children coming together to meet a need. God used us to influence many lives that day, which if you think about it is pretty humbling because we are just as vulnerable to these circumstances, had it not been for God's grace. What we did is a perfect example of what each day should look like when we're serving the Lord. Setting aside selfish opportunities for serving opportunities, and look how greatly that effected people just in one day. Thanks Deb for putting that all together. It was awesome being a part of a team like that. Surrender each day to Christ and see how he uses you! peace, Ethan

Received Wednesday 12/16/09
I was touched to the point of becoming glassy eyed (real men don't cry - LOL) to read how many people came to Jesus on Saturday. Programs such as the food pantry are an expression of love and nothing is more effective at drawing people to Christ than love. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful and impactful program.

Received Monday 12/14/09
Sherry Yoo
I have served with the Food Pantry Ministry now for a couple of years and lately have had the privilege of doing some last minute shopping in preparation for our Open Pantry. It is such fun to walk through the grocery store with several carts loaded down with boxes and boxes of like items. I get all kinds of questions and the wonderful thing is, it often is an opportunity to talk about our Lord and the work He is doing through our church in reaching out to the community. What a blessing to be a part of something that directly touches the lives of others both in tangible and intangible ways.

Received Monday 12/14/09
Steve and Alis Eastman
It was a special day for my wife and me I was working in the prayer room and this young lady who spoke Spanish needed a translator so i got my wife and for the first time she shared the Gospel. As I spoke she translated and the lady gave her heart to Christ. God could have used anybody else but He is so personal He allowed my wife and me to share as a team what a privilege and honor being used to further His kingdom by His grace!

Received Monday 12/14/09
Sheri Stimson
It is such a privilege to be able to both participate and see how God was at work thru the process of preparations for the Open Food Pantry. Please continue to pray for the 306 families we were privileged to serve thru the OFP. 60 adults and 4 children made decisions to follow Christ on Saturday! God is working!! One thing that stood out to several of our guest families was OUR diversity. That's exciting! They saw the body of Christ working together! All ages, backgrounds, and walks of life brought together as a unified body. These are dark days for so many. Praise God for the light! May we be faithful to shine his light in a dark world in need of swift rescue. I pray that your hearts are renewed by the truth of our Savior and the joy he brings to the world! Merry Christmas!

Received Monday 12/14/09
George Alegria
Personally, I've seen how prayer really works, and how God is in control of all things. People's hearts have been touched by the Holly Spirit, and the Gospel continues to be God's Dynamite for salvation. It was great seen every one working in harmony for the same purpose, and that is to provide to others what God has giving to us abundantly, Love and foooooood! I was glad to hear people saying how different we are, and how they felt like at home being at our church, keep up the good work, and let's continue praying for all of our new brothers and sisters in Christ.God Bless you all!

Received Monday 12/14/09
Mike Gaston
What strikes me most about the OFP is the variety of volunteers that it unites in a common cause to serve and share Christ's love with people in need. It's a delight to see all kinds of folks pitching in: students, adults, and seniors; Spanish and English congregations; "task-oriented" types and "people-oriented" types, all coming together to share the love of Christ in practical ways. I'm sure God was smiling on Saturday as we represented Him - I know I was!What strikes me most about the OFP is the variety of volunteers that it unites in a common cause to serve and share Christ's love with people in need. It's a delight to see all kinds of folks pitching in: students, adults, and seniors; Spanish and English congregations; "task-oriented" types and "people-oriented" types, all coming together to share the love of Christ in practical ways. I'm sure God was smiling on Saturday as we represented Him - I know I was!

Received Monday 12/14/09
Dan Fetters

The grace of God was tangible throughout the Open Food Pantry Day. Every guest could simply receive, with dignity. All who came for some daily bread were offered relationship with the Bread of Life, Christ, the Giver of forgiveness of sin and the One who purchased eternal life for all who will believe.