St. Stephen UMC Donates $20,000 to Loaves & Fishes
By: Daniel Bader
In the Bible, when Jesus’s disciples were faced with feeding 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, you could forgive them if they were discouraged. Similarly, when the coronavirus lock down prevented members of St. Stephen from volunteering or even donating food, members of the South Charlotte church were left feeling like they couldn’t help. Members of the community were hurting, and the church, founded on mission work and dedicated to be the Hands, Feet and Heart of Jesus Christ in the world, had to stay home.
Meanwhile, Tina Postel, Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes, Charlotte’s food pantry, and her team had to re-imagine how to feed people. Brick and mortar store-style pantries were potentially dangerous to the hungry and to volunteers, and were shuttered. In response, Loaves and Fishes went mobile. At 20 different locations in Mecklenburg County, the food pantry staff set up drive-thru style, contact-less distribution sites with refrigerated trucks, small teams of socially-distanced volunteers and pre-packaged family-sized grocery boxes for community members who came through the line. It was a big undertaking that took some investment and change.
St. Stephen members, mostly sidelined at home, focused their mission to help in the most effective way possible in the pandemic, with a $20,000 donation to help Loaves and Fishes keep their efforts going. The check, a 10-percent tithe from a project to refresh the Sardis Road church launched in January, was presented to Postel at one of the mobile distribution sites on Tuesday.
“We know you can leverage this money to buy more food than we ever could at the grocery store,” Senior Pastor Ken Curtis said. “This is the way we can help our neighbors right now.”
Since December, St. Stephen has donated more than $40,000 to area non-profit organizations. In January, St. Stephen helped fund a Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity House with a similar $20,000 donation. The family that was chosen for that house recently took possession of the finished property.
“Our mission, even in a pandemic, is to take care of our neighbors. To feed the hungry, to give shelter to those that need it,” Curtis said. “We’re doing that with our hands and feet when we can, safely. When we can’t we show our love and support in financial ways. St. Stephen members are generous people. We have to be. It’s our calling here on earth.”
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