One of God’s Portion’s partner ministries, the Free Hot Soup program operating out of Gather Church’s Eat Free Cafe in Centralia, use fresh produce which volunteers turn into delicious, healthy soup served with fresh bread. All of the food and ingredients is procured from the God’s Portion warehouse.
Free hot soup is a project started by volunteers in Lewis County, originating with a teacher from Adna that handed out a pot of soup in October 2015 at Borst Park several years ago. The program grew and evolved into a Facebook group that got together volunteers to serve hot soup, bread, and later casseroles at the Centralia Train Station twice a week.
“About a year and a half ago, we approached the people at Gather Church and started serving there in October 2016 because they have a café on Main Street they’ve been operating, which we now serve out of,” one of the volunteers, Tom, explains. The number of people who dine with them range from 50-100 depending on the time of the month and the weather.
“We hope to attract more volunteers, including a coordinator,” Tom says. “We need someone who can be there Sunday evenings from 2-7 to prep food, and with that person in place I think we can attract additional volunteers to support that event.”
“These folks are at a place in their lives where they often need a roof over their head, and are looking for work,” Tom continues. “I think we’re here to make the world a better place, and I enjoy helping others,” he finishes.
Tom recommends anyone interested in getting involved should come to Gather Church’s Café on Wednesday evenings between 5-7 to observe, help out with a dinner, or learn about other ways to get involved. The Café is located in The Atrium at 408 W. Main St, Centralia. For additional information, please see Free Hot Soup’s Facebook group.
When food banks have taken all they need from the God’s Portion warehouse in Centralia, Richard Graves — better known online as The Chip Guy — and a group of volunteers open the warehouse to the public.
The God’s Portion warehouse, located in Centralia, acts as a “food bank for food banks,” Graves said. Companies such as Franz Bakery, Kettle Chips, Green Mountain Coffee and Pepsi donate food and beverages to God’s Portion to be distributed to area food banks each week. However, the companies often donate more than the food banks can accept, whether it’s a matter of having too much of a specific item — such as chips or soda — or taking in too much produce that could in turn go to waste.
Water of Life, United Family Church of God
Water of Life is an independent church not affiliated with any denominations. Donlee notes the church is highly aware of their connection to the greater church community as a whole, and committed to bridging the gap between denominations in the body. The congregation’s desire for fellowship and connection made a relationship with God’s Portion a natural next step.
“We’ve been partnered with God’s Portion since 2012,” Donlee explains. One of the elders in our church approached our congregation and told us about this organization,” he continues, explaining how they discovered God’s Portion. “We sent some people to find out what it was all about, and we’ve been blessed to be working with them ever since.”
“We’re in a small community in East Gray’s Harbor County, in the city of Oakville,” Donlee says. “Our mission field in Oakville is to spread the gospel, but there’s a looming cloud over the town in the form of drugs and alcohol, and the lack of having a relationship with our Heavenly Father. We’ve been able to reach into the community with our Sunday morning breakfast ministry and also with our food bank,” he continues.
Donlee notes the ministry got started as a response to a lack of resources in their area: there was only one food bank in Oakville, and it was only open one day a month. God’s Portion has allowed Donlee and his fellow church members to open a food bank one day every week, and they have partnered with several other ministries to provide food in Chehalis and Elma, as well as the Oakville community.
“We went into this ministry with the understanding that we wanted to help people, not enable them,” Donlee says. “We have seen an incredible impact in the community with the help we receive from God’s Portion to further the Kingdom of God.”
Water of Life provides both perishable and nonperishable goods, with God’s Portion providing all the fresh produce.
“Normally at a food bank you see canned goods, and you just don’t see a lot of fruits and vegetables,” Donlee explains. “It’s an opportunity to educate people how to eat healthier and a lot of people in our community have really learned a lot about cooking fresh and natural food, and it’s just wonderful to see their eyes opened up to a better way of living,” he says.
Donlee isn’t sure what the future holds or exactly what form their ministry will take in the coming months and years, because their organization is small and has only a few people carrying the burden of running their programs. Nevertheless, Donlee has faith that the work of feeding the community will continue. “God provides,” he says. “Every week, there’s enough and we’re able to give back financially to God’s Portion and other ministries,” he finishes. “We have been so blessed by this organization, and we pray to be able to continue to bring that blessing forward to hungry families throughout our region.”
For more about Water of Life, click here.
Donate now and support God’s Portion in providing food for Water of Life and other ministries: click here.
Christmas and the holiday season is approaching, and there’s so much for which many of us can be thankful: food, shelter, friends, family and faith. We have a growing number of neighbors among us who don’t have all of these blessings: the US Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report last week showing Washington’s homeless population has increased 7.3 percent this year, now totaling tens of thousands. In addition to the homeless, growing numbers of families, even those with housing, are struggling with lack of food. Will you support God’s Portion in our ministry to provide food to organizations that serve those in need?
By working together, we can help churches, ministries and nonprofits meet the need in our community. God’s Portion volunteers are the heroes behind the heroes, operating a network that provides fresh produce, whole grain bread, meat, fruit, potatoes, snacks and beverages to dozens of organizations feeding the hungry in cities from Tacoma to Kelso and everywhere in between. We provide food to multiple food banks, Cascadia Cares, Set Free, Abundance Food Pantry, Water of Life, the Slavic Christian Center of Tacoma and many other organizations actively engaged in distributing meals and food to those who need it.
We can’t do this without your help. This time of the year, no child should be hungry, and no family should be without the witness provided by the faithful ministry of the church.
Your gift of $5, $10 or $50 will make a huge difference to God’s Portion. Your donation of just $5 will provide 8 lbs of healthy food to a family in need. Your donation of $10 will allow us to purchase enough fuel to get a truck from our fleet 30 miles down the road and closer to home with nutritious food on board. And your donation of $50 will help us invest in a new compressor for our freezer, enabling us to distribute protein and perishable foods with even more efficiency, feeding more hungry families.
This holiday season, answer the call to faithful giving. Donate now and support our mission. Click here to make your donation.