Director of Church Strengthening, Converge North Central
A number of Converge North Central churches have participated in the US Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.
In a response to the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic to the agriculture industry, the US Government began this food box program. The government buys food from farmers, contracts with manufacturers, processors and transportation companies, and works with non-profit organizations to distribute the food to people free of charge.
The USDA website reports, “The program will supply food boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Distributors will package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.”
Converge North Central churches taking the opportunity to serve as a distribution hub in their community include Iron Ridge Church (Waukon, IA), Grace Fellowship (Brooklyn Park, MN) North Haven Church (North St. Paul, MN) Revision Church (Des Moines, IA) and Ashworth Church (Des Moines, IA).
Over the summer and fall, some of these churches received multiple truckloads containing almost 1100 boxes of perishable food distributed the same day. The contents of each box had a mix of milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables, two types of meat, and other dairy items.
Marlan Mincks, of Iron Ridge Church, saw people from the church rally around the program to unload and distribute multiple loads of food to those in the community. This distribution was covered by local TV and newspaper and the Iowa Governor even helped distribute boxes from one of the trailers. Keeping the community updated by using the church’s Facebook page, Mincks says their Facebook views hit 15,000 and there were many new people attending on the following Sundays. He added that it was perhaps the single best thing they’ve done.
The program is scheduled to conclude at the end of the October, but it has been a tremendous ministry tool for these churches to serve their communities in a tangible and relevant way. Check out their respective Facebook pages to see more pictures and videos.
Joel Nelson, Director of Church Strengthening, Converge North Central