A locally-owned restaurant in the Sacramento, California, area wanted to serve its community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and partnered with a local Wesleyan church to make it happen.
The partnership was born when the restaurant reached out to a local community center in Sacramento, which has partnered with Faith Legacy Church (FLC) for many events.
Since restaurants were unable to open in Sacramento, the restaurant “shifted their time and energy to feed the community,” said Rev. Brennan McCurdy, who serves as FLC’s executive pastor.
“From March to June we distributed 650 meals out of our church location to help feed families in the Sacramento region,” said McCurdy. “We had three to four volunteers each week to help distribute, and it was a first-come, first-serve basis.”
This act of service fits in well with FLC’s desire to represent Christ to its diverse community.
The church, with an average attendance of 225, is in an area where low-income residents live across the street, middle-class residents live behind and refugees live in an apartment complex a few blocks away.
For three years, FLC has housed a pop-up clothing store several times a year. Area men, women and children come to the store to receive free clothing donated by church attendees and non-attendees. On average, the store serves over 90 families. The church also provides a free mid-week breakfast — pastries, donuts and coffee — to anyone who walks over or drives by on their way to work or school. Several breakfast recipients are children walking to school who might not otherwise have breakfast to eat. Both the store and the breakfast are staffed by church volunteers.
McCurdy said this season has given FLC the opportunity to live out its mission.
“One of the driving forces for us as a church is this statement that ‘we are a church in the community for the community’” he said. “This statement drives our love local initiative, which has been positioned with funding and volunteers to continue to meet the needs of our community as they shift and change in this ever-changing climate.”
Providing food and clothing to area residents has impacted FLC lay and clergy as they continue to learn how to best engage with and minister to people including refugees from countries like Syria and Afghanistan.
“It’s opening their [lay and clergy] eyes to the need — to the real struggle of job loss and families trying to provide who are desperate,” said McCurdy. “It’s also exposing them to the large influx of refugees in our community and hearing their stories about being in highly respected careers in their native land but coming here without knowing English and having to start over. Anytime we can disrupt assumptions people have about others and get them engaging with their personal stories is a real win for us and our church.”
The meal giveaway ceased when the restaurant reopened, but McCurdy is confident there will be more opportunities for FLC to meet needs as God provides both the opportunity and the resources.
“We need to continue to pray to be salt and light here on this corner and then be quick to answer whenever God calls.”