The South Bay Quincenera is such a joyful occasion!
This campus, in this location, was born of our congregation’s desire to put ourselves in a community where we could do local social justice work. Our South Bay Food Pantry was born from the marriage of that yearning and a community need I experienced when I taught at an elementary school we can walk to from here.
The year I retired from teaching, I had a couple experiences that etched in me the understanding that even though there were other active groups pushing free food into the community, there still was not enough food available to satisfy the daily emergency of hunger.
Our school served 1,000 students, all living in homes below the poverty line. On a typical day, my kindergarteners would arrive early and eat a free breakfast in the cafeteria. Then, instead of running around and playing during morning recess, many chose to go back to the cafeteria for what we called
“Second Breakfast.” A couple hours later, they returned to the cafeteria for a free lunch.
One day, after I had spent months growing giant sunflowers in my home garden, I brought the huge flower heads into class so my kids could study seeds for science class. One of my little girls — a 5 year old with arms as thin as broomsticks — took home a backpack of free food every Friday so she could have access to food over the weekend. Even with 3 free meals a day and free food for the weekend, when I gave her a sunflower, she did not do our science experiment with the seeds. Instead, she ate them. I knew then I needed to do more for my community.
So, that is the origin story of our South Bay Food Pantry. Our pantry really is the offspring of our shared desire to push into a community where we could share our value that service is our prayer and the need to address hidden hunger.
I want to thank all our volunteers and First Church for your on-going commitment to provide emergency food services here. When I started the pantry, my fondest dream was that we close the pantry one day because there was no more need for it.
Until then, I know there are some days when volunteers feel like they are laying down the tracks while the train is coming and some days where you may feel that you are just a conduit for some invisible source of grace. I know you always work hard. Thank you for much for continuing to be the lifeblood of our South Bay Food Pantry and the wider community. You are always in my heart.
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