Peace in the Pantry
A former student recently decided to move away from her small town, having saved up money, gotten a great deal on a used car, and accepted into a college program. Of course, doing this in the midst of a pandemic. However, there was peace in her decision. She felt prepared, she had a plan, and she needed to leave her town behind. However, she did not plan on hitting rock bottom. Her car broke down. Her job did not transfer. The college program was not what she was expecting. The peace she had of new beginnings progressively evaporated and began to find herself without money or a sense of direction. No money meant no food. This student has helped with ministry organizations before but never thought she might lean into one. However, for four months, she leaned into the help of a food pantry while trying to pull herself out of the pit of isolation and depression. Not a place we would typically find God, nor find peace.
Often, peace is found in unexpected ways and places. Moments and spaces we would never think it would flood in, peace reigns supreme. When advent season rolls around and peace is spoken of, I think of the announcement of peace and goodwill to humanity announced from the angels to the shepherds. I am not rushing to a field of sheep to find peace, especially in the middle of the night, as they were likely threats lurking about. However, the angelic chorus in Luke 2 made their way to announce the birth of the Good Shepherd that would bring PEACE on earth. This birth brought a new way of life that could make possible the true way of peace.
The student mentioned above-found healing and peace in that food pantry. She let go of pride and allowed someone to care for her. This ministry announced to her that despite what she may be going through in this season of her life, what really mattered was her well-being. This organization, without question, continued to care for her. She then began to reach out to others that could help her mind and soul. She is now back in her little town, but it was only by the peace offered to her through the divine calling of a food pantry.
Storied Church supports a similar food pantry, Southern Alamance Family Empowerment (SAFE) Food Pantry. Their vision: “To end hunger in our community. Of course hunger is complex: People are hungry for so much more than just food. People are hungry for healthy relationships, safe surroundings, and God’s abundant love. With this in mind, we will build relationships with all who come through our doors, always seeking ways to feed the hungry.”
The student I talked about asked me a few days ago if there was a food pantry she could donate to. This is when she told me her story. I pointed her to SAFE Food Pantry. She said, “I would have starved without that food bank. I am glad it was there because I never saw myself going to a food bank until I was at my lowest. There was so much going wrong all at the same time. Finally, with the food bank, something felt like it was going right. My faith was being restored. I finally had some moments of peace.”
One day she will be able to announce and share her story. That through a food bank, through people donating food when they can to an organization, that people can be restored body, mind, and soul. Her story will be a silver lining in the cloudy skies of someone else’s life to announce “Peace on Earth and goodwill to humanity.”