One way Vine Street is at work in the community
By Melanie Gao
When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been beheaded, he tried to get some time alone (Matthew 14). He went off by himself, but a throng of people followed him. When he saw them he gave up his quest for time alone and began healing them.
Eventually the sky began to darken and Jesus’ disciples encouraged him to send the people away so they could get dinner for themselves. But Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
Something similar happened at Vine Street once. People often knock on the door asking for something to eat, and for years the folks who answered the door would typically descend into the depths of the church basement searching for something to give them. They scratched together whatever they could find. But they heard Jesus’ voice from Matthew 14—“give them something to eat”—and decided they wanted a better system for fulfilling his command to us.
And thus the program called Something to Eat was born.
Something to Eat has been a tradition at Vine Street for over a decade now. There is a basket next to the door and it is stocked with individual lunch bags. When someone knocks at the door asking for food, our staff can reach into this basket and give them a bag for each person. The bags typically contain foods that require no refrigeration or heating, and that can be eaten on the steps of the sanctuary or in a car. The contents are things like a large box of saltines, a jar of peanut butter, fruit cups, bottled water, Vienna sausages and a set of plastic silverware. It also contains information about Second Harvest Food Bank. We distribute about 20 of these bags each month.
Hope Hodnett, director of youth ministries and education, recalls that once a man approached the church as she was leaving one evening. When he asked for something to eat she gave him one of the bags. The next morning when she returned she found a food bag tied to the handrail by the outside door. In it were two fruit cups. “I smiled,” she said. “I don’t like canned peaches either.”
The goal of Something to Eat isn’t to solve world hunger and it isn’t to give anyone a long-term supply of groceries. The goal is to satisfy an immediate hunger so that someone gets the strength and energy they need to make it to the food bank or shelter or social services or their home.
When you give to Vine Street, you’re giving Something to Eat to people who need it.