On Saturday, November 21, 2020, St. John’s Parish hosted the 13th Annual Feeding the Multitude outreach. The following report was sent to leaders of the 23 churches participating the evening after the event was held.
Leaders of the Flock: It was a glorious day! God’s people from 23 churches came together today to serve Him, proclaim His glory, and to see first-hand that we are all created in His image.
But the word I really want to focus on is trust, because the consistent message that showed through during the entire experience of the 13th Annual Feeding the Multitude was “Trust Me.” I can’t get that out of my mind—trust me!
- We trusted Him when we had to modify the format that seemed to work for 12 years.
- We trusted Him when we exceeded our goal of 600 bags and ended up with 1200 donated.
- We trusted Him when we questioned, “Would that many people come?”
- We trusted Him when we increased our order to 900 turkeys to match the influx of bags and money that were donated.
- We trusted Him when we were concerned, “Did we order more than we needed? What will we do with extra turkeys? Should we order more when the number of bags reached 1100, 1200?
- We trusted Him when Jesus gave us the idea to hold off on ordering more turkeys and instead get grocery store gift certificates to give if more people came.
- We trusted Him when, days before the Feeding, we realized we were short of volunteers.
- As always, for 13 years, we trusted that He would give us a pretty day to help Him grow His Kingdom, and He did.
Bottom line, Jesus Christ was in charge of the Feeding and this is what happened in response to prayer:
- Three days before the Feeding, people starting volunteering to fill vacant positions. We ended up with cohesive teams that completed all the work still smiling.
- Church teams took 165 plated meals to shut-ins and nearly 200 bags of food/turkeys to rural housing and to families and men in homes in the Hispanic camps on Johns Island.
- On November 21, people started lining up at 10 a.m. to receive food. The lots and fields were full by 11 a.m. and traffic started backing up on the streets.
- We started the Feeding 40 minutes early. It went so smoothly and quickly that we thought we would run out of bags and turkeys. Our volunteers were awesome, working hard all afternoon, and treating our guests with the love and respect they deserve.
- Then it slowed down to an intermittent line of traffic for the next three hours.
- We then wondered if we would have too many turkeys and bags, so we prayed. The phone prayer line prayed, the Facebook stream that went from 12 noon to 3 p.m. prayed, the people of the island churches prayed. We also prayed over and over the prayers on our united church prayer chain. And Jesus answered our prayers.
- From 1:30 to 4:15 (long after our 3 p.m. closing), people continued to come. They needed food, and we handed it out. When we ran out of turkeys, we gave bags of food and grocery store $20 gift certificates so they could buy a turkey.
- After closing, we still gave food to people who provide homes to foster children, to people who run community food ministries, and to individual families who are struggling to meet expenses.
- What’s left over? Seventy-five bags and a few gift certificates, which we will share with Our Lady of Mercy and the Food programs on John’s and Wadmalaw Islands. All 900 turkeys are gone.
- We closed the day with our volunteers and a couple of guests, standing in a circle, masked and social distancing, singing “Amazing Grace” from the top of our lungs.
- And I cried tears of joy and thanksgiving, just like I have done for 13 years.
Please thank your church members for their generosity and the dedicated volunteers who gave their time and love today and in the weeks leading up to the Feeding. Most of all, thank you all for your prayers.
Now the work must continue. Let’s work together in other ways to serve our community as God’s one, united Church, dedicated to serving Him and each other, and being instruments to grow His Kingdom.
God’s grace, peace and a blessed Thanksgiving,
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
By Claudia Boyce, St. John’s Parish Church, Johns Island