Memphis church organize food drive during COVID-19 pandemic

From the WRBL Internship Assignment Desk

This story was produced as part of the WRBL 2020 Summer Intern program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WRBL) – Food insecurity has increased in Memphis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During these troubled times, the ability to obtain food is difficult for some people for various reasons. There are some locations are donating goods to the community to salvage the situation.

Jordan Griffin, Minister of Youth and Missions at Eastside Community Church, says the church decided to alleviate hunger during COVID-19 because of their values and their determination to embody Christ. They’ve made it their mission to feed those in need during times of uncertainty.

The church partnered with the Mid-South Food and distribute portions of goods every Wednesday since the start of COVID-19.

“At Eastside Community Church, our core values are Learning to follow Jesus Daily, Living the Gospel together, and Loving our neighbors authentically,” he said. “We hope to exemplify Jesus as people who love and care for others. James 2:15-16 says, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? We want to live this verse well,” said Griffin.

Griffin says though the congregation is small, they will continue to make efforts to serve a community that is in dire need of support and resources.

Though the number of people receiving goods from the church fluctuates weekly, the congregation manages to feed a good quality of citizens.

“Our number changes weekly as we have been distributing for roughly 10 weeks now. The most we’ve served in a day is 505 households and in the past two months, we’ve served approximately 3,800-4,000 households at our location. We operate once a week,” Griffin said.

As members of the church volunteer their services to feed the less fortunate and hungry, they also have responsibilities in their personal life. However, Griffin says taking necessary measures during tough’s times can bring delight.

“Many of us are still working our 9-5 jobs, while some of us have suffered a vocation loss due to COVID-19, but we believe it’s important to be present for the community at this time. To love well is not an easy task and we believe it takes action, so even when it’s hard it brings us much joy,” said Griffin.

The items are provided by the Midsouth Foodbank and donations are distributed accordingly.

“Food varies week to week based on what they have available, but it’s common to have a 30lbs box of food available per household and it often contains: protein, grains, dairy, and produce with a few other daily snacks,” said Griffin.

Griffin says though it is challenging witnessing people in need, it brings the congregation joy to know those in the community extended their trust. 

Easing hunger during COVID-19 has been a self-effacing experience for the Eastside Community Church and its members. Some in the area have endured a series of life changes and the church is grateful they were able to contribute to the community.

“This has been a humbling experience for many, and we are not excluded from that. We know that as Ecclesiastes says there is a season for everything, and time and chance happen to all. Many people who are now struggling were considered upper class at the beginning of this year. We are thankful to be a part of helping all who need it as we can and realize we play a small part,” said Griffin.

Griffins says the lack of food worldwide and the coronavirus played a significant role in the food insecurity, but he hopes those who can contribute would extend their hand in service and those who need to assist obtain access to the proper resources.

“Hunger is a pandemic year-round and COVID-19 extended that pandemic to many families who wouldn’t normally fall victim to it while emphasizing the need of those who struggle year-round. A lack of finances often means choosing where to allocate money and which bills or needs will suffer. I hope that all who can help, help, and all that need help, get help. I’m also hopeful that this time draws attention to the pandemic of hunger that happens year-round in all of our cities,” said Griffin.

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