As an organization, we talk a lot about Food Paks. They are boxes that can hold up to 20 pounds of food and supplement a family’s meals for about a week. But what does it really represent?
We believe in that in addition to containing canned goods and beans, it symbolizes three concepts that make our method of ministry unique.
The Food Pak represents generosity, on multiple levels. Because of the generosity of donors who provide the funds, and the generosity of volunteers who serve by packing the Food Paks, churches are able to generously distribute these boxes as a tool for Relational Mercy Ministry. For Children’s Hunger Fund, this simple box of food is our ability to give a free gift, not only to the recipient families, but to the church that gives them out. For only $12 a Food Pak, we are able to equip churches with what they need to feed families in their communities, ultimately putting the generosity of Jesus on display.
The Food Pak represents relationships. One of our core distinctives at CHF is to “pursue relationships.” We see relationships as invaluable to what we do, since they are what connect us not only to each other, but also to a relational God. With the help of Food Paks, pastors and volunteers are able to start new relationships and extend current ones, returning again and again to families who are hurting. In the context of a relationship with a church representative, individuals can hear how the gospel of Jesus specifically applies to their circumstance, and how its power transforms lives.
Finally, the Food Pak represents the concept of home delivery. While training churches for Food Pak ministry, the emphasis is put on visiting families where they live. This is very different from a food bank model, in which recipients are asked to pick up the food from a central location. Through home delivery, we hope to restore dignity to families by meeting them where they are, and to develop relationships in a space that is comfortable and familiar. It is in this environment that volunteers and pastors can hear families’ stories, and pray for their needs.
Many of the pastors who make up CHF’s Mercy Networks have tried doing ministry in the communities without the help of resources like Food Paks, with little progress. When churches join a Mercy Network, they are equipped with this tool that represents so much more than meals. Food Paks can transform the way outreach takes place, opening doors and breaking down walls.
One of the most recent stories received from Peru told of a woman who had previously rejected the message of Christ, only to later surrender to His free offer of grace. The pastor wrote, “It is marvelous to think how a box with food can open up the way for people to hear the salvation of our Lord.”