According to a study by the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services for Fairfax County, “The Fairfax-Falls Church area is one of the wealthiest areas of the United States. This wealth often obscures the fact that a substantial number of low-income persons live here. Amidst the wealth of the Fairfax-Falls Church area, over 44,000 residents received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and over a quarter of the students enrolled in the Fairfax County Public Schools received free or reduced-cost lunches. Furthermore, Fairfax County is home to more than 62,000 individuals who live below poverty and another 86,000 residents who live in households with incomes 100 to 185 percent of poverty (2010 American Community Survey). It is likely that many of these low-income residents struggle to feed their families a nutritious and sufficient amount of food.”
As we consider the seriousness of these statistics we must also consider the seriousness of what God’s shares with us in Matthew 25:31-40:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Wow! When we provide for the needs of others in God’s name, He views our efforts as an act of love and worship that He wishes to bless us for! God wants us to love Him by loving others. That’s why we’re encouraging our kids to participate in our current Missions Project supporting The Shepherd’s Food Pantry. Should hard times place a family or a person in temporary crisis, The Shepherd’s Food Pantry supplies non-perishable food, toiletries, God’s love, a listening ear, compassion, and prayer. And by meeting the physical needs of families, doors are opened to addressing their spiritual needs as well.
Through the end of February we’re collecting 3-pound bags of rice and any type of canned bean. We are specifically collecting rice and beans because these are the most often requested food items of the recipients. Please make sure items are not expired. Collection bins are located at Kid’s Quest Check-in Stations. Offering funds collected will go towards the purchase of additional food items.
For more about The Shepherd’s Food Pantry go to cityimpactdc.org/foodpantry. They welcome families serving together by packing food boxes on the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month at 7:00 pm in Community Room C or The Rock Gym.
While it may be easier for you to gather food items on your own, we encourage you not to pass up the opportunity for a teachable moment with your kids. Have your kids participate in finding the items and dropping them into the collection bins.