To combat food insecurities among households in the area, The Church of the Nazarene in Collingdale continued its decades-long weekly food pantry hosting last Thursday along with its weekly sermon by the Life Builders Church.
A display of fresh fruits, vegetables and breads were arranged in a back corner of one of the main rooms in the church, set up by volunteers from the area. Prior to its official opening, Rev. Per Faaland, pastor in charge, requested all volunteers gather in a circle to hold hands for prayer.
“We are not a room full of wealthy people; we are trying to make a difference in the lives of people who are not wealthy,” Faaland prefaced before asking a young volunteer to lead the group in prayer. “We’re going to help people who don’t have food, (to) have food and we’re going to do it in a fair and sometimes tough way because sometimes love is tough.”
Linda Stamm, said she has volunteered for a couple months as she battles stage IV lung cancer, adding that she has received support throughout her battle from those coming for food in return for her efforts to help them.
“I feel like I am serving God,” Stamm said, “There are definitely a lot of less fortunate (in the area); a lot of seniors that can’t afford to go food shopping.”
The doors were open to the line of guests, each greeted by volunteers and given a number to designate their time to select foods. The guests, including mothers with young children, filed into the room and made their way to the kitchen where they were first treated to a hot meal. Volunteers and guests also sung “Happy Birthday” to guests with month of May birthdays, and ice cream and cake were served to celebrate.
While guests ate, Faaland stood on a chair placed between the threshold dividing the kitchen and sitting area to deliver the Life Builders sermon to volunteers and guests scattered between the two rooms. He explained the purpose of the Life Builders talks: to empower attendees going through tough times and emphasized the need for the community to come together. Faaland instructed each person to look at the closest stranger in the room to tell them they were glad they came.
“Whatever form it takes, how can we help you build your life?” Faaland said.
“We subscribe to the idea of more of a hand-up, than a handout,” Faaland told The Spirit. “Research shows that if you give a poor family some $20,000 or $30,000, they’ll do more like start a business, send kids to college.”
Faaland said Life Builders was a counseling session for attendees and the food pantry was to reduce the list of things needed so people “can get a space to do building.”
The assortments of fruits, vegetables and rolls were provided by corporate donors.
Faaland said many parts of Collingdale struggle with food insecurities, with grocery stores being out of walking distance, which is problematic for residents who do not drive.
“Healthy food choices are not plentiful in the area as corner stores only provide canned foods or prepared fried foods,” Faaland said, adding that he believes many families adhere to a “culture” that lacks cooking due to the wide consumption of readily available and unhealthy prepared foods.
The pastor said the church’s pantry tries hard to ensure providing healthy foods to combat the problem.
The Life Builders Church and Food Pantry open every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with the church geared toward promoting prayer, autonomy and hot meals, followed by the Food Pantry at 6:30 where residents can take home food.