Columbia County Church Meets Hidden Need

January 11, 2018

Gloria and Journey Community Church volunteers share a hug and a prayer at the church’s monthly Mobile Food Pantry.

In the seven years Gloria worked for Meals on Wheels, she never thought she would find herself in need of food assistance. But that changed when her youngest son passed away and Gloria and her husband of 30 years adopted his daughter.

Though her husband and oldest son both work to support their household of seven, money is tight – especially after the birth of Gloria’s great-grandchild. With the cost of diapers and childcare added to their monthly budget, the family found themselves facing the tough choice between paying for basic necessities and buying enough to eat.

Then, Gloria found help at Journey Community Church in Evans, GA, which hosts Golden Harvest’s Mobile Food Pantry once a month. “If it wasn’t for this, sometimes we wouldn’t have any food,” says Gloria; “It’s been tough, but we’ve made it. This helps us a lot.”

Justen Gray, Journey’s Director of Missions and Outreach, says they started hosting the pantry to serve the hidden need in their area.

“Here in Columbia County there’s so much of hidden poverty. We serve a lot of people raising grandchildren on a retirement income. They are afraid to ask for help,” he explains. “When you serve these people, you realize they aren’t just a statistic that you read somewhere; there are hungry people, right here.”

Journey’s monthly ministry also includes a clothes closet and free haircuts once every three months. The event has become a way for the church to share love and hope with those in need.

“I love building the relationships- the food turns into friendships,” says Justen; “We’re using food to share love. We want to give respect and dignity to the people we serve, and we want them to leave feeling they are loved by Christ.”

Gloria echoes this sentiment as she smiles, “They are wonderful people here. They always give you a hug and say a prayer with you.” Hugs, thank yous, and handshakes abound as Journey volunteers carry bins full of carefully selected, meal ready food to the cars of those coming for assistance.

“Golden Harvest has been a blessing to us by affording us a great opportunity to serve the community that we otherwise would not have,” concludes Justen. “We are thankful to be a part of it.”