They said, “We couldn’t scrape up more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish…He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up. Luke 12-17 (The Message)
When we read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, we often focus on the miracle of Jesus multiplying five loaves and couple of fish. Sometimes we forget that one of the central themes of this story is that when hungry people encounter Jesus, they are fed.
Hunger and food insecurity are still huge issues for many people in the world. In the United States alone, 14.5 percent of households struggle to put enough food on the table. More than 48 million Americans, including 15.9 million children live in this condition. That means one in five children in the United States is at risk of hunger.
The hunger experienced by these families is not just a rumbling tummy from missing one meal. Chronic hunger means these families are malnourished. They lack the strength and energy for everyday activities. They experience fatigue and an inability to concentrate. Others face food insecurity which means they do not have regular access to safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development.
The children and families who are facing hunger live in our communities. They are our neighbors. We must ask, what happens when hungry people encounter us? What happens when they encounter the church? Are they fed?
Thanks to the You Feed Them grant, we can say that yes! When hungry people in Glendale, Arizona encountered the West Side Church of God, they were fed. Through the help of a You Feed Them grant, the West Side Church food pantry was able to feed 398 families with a total of 1,992 individuals! That is 1,992 children, women, and men who were shown the love of God through nutritional food. That is 1,992 people who were able to have satisfying meals because of the church.
The You Feed Them grant started as a finance project which Christian Women Connection groups were asked to financially support. With those collected funds, the Christian Women Connection national office is able to give direct aid to churches like West Side Church of God through grants. It’s a great way to dollars and cents into fruits and vegetables.
You may be asking, “What can I do?” You Feed Them provides the plan, resources, and connections to multiply “the loaves and fishes” we all have to feed the hungry people in our communities. Check out www.christianwomenconnection.org/you-feed-them for steps, instructions, and grant applications.
Jesus told his disciples to feed the hungry. Jesus is telling us to feed the hungry. Let’s work together and feed them!
 Source: Household Food Security in the United States, 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2011. (Table 1A, Table 1B)