Feeding His Sheep

Step 2. Find a building that is big enough not only to receive and store product, but also to process it for distribution.

Step 3. Contact local companies and national corporations to let them know what you are doing and ask if they will help. "Call first and ask who's in charge of donated products--for corporations, it's often the vice president of distribution; for local retailers, it's the shipping and receiving manager as well as the general manager," Murphy explains.

Step 4. Seek out local produce distributors that supply hospitals, restaurants and hotels. Often, orders are placed and then cancelled, to the benefit of your ministry.

Step 5. Maintain a big vision. Don't limit the Lord, but don't despise the day of small things. "Be open for God to expand your operation at any time," Murphy advises.

Murphy issues this caution when seeking product donations: Be clear about the volume your ministry is able to handle. Once you get a call indicating that food is available for pickup, you risk losing future donations if you have to refuse it--or worse, if you fail to get it at the designated time.

"This is where uniting with other ministries is important. If you know you cannot handle more than one truckload at a time, find other ministries that are also able to take product in bulk. When a corporation calls to tell you they have 10 truckloads and that's more than you can handle, pass the blessing on to the brother who can handle it."

Finally, Murphy reminds those in hunger relief ministry to never forget that God is their provision, a lesson he learned early on. Corporations and others that provide donations are a resource, he says, but God is the only true source.

"Any time we did what God told us to do, we received instant provision from Him," he recalls. "Every outreach needs to keep in mind that God is their source and that they need to be connected to a local church. We have to become family.

How to Get Involved

Several hunger relief ministries offer helpful resources for churches wanting to start a food distribution program.

If you want your church to get involved in a food distribution program--whether in your local area, elsewhere in the United States or in foreign countries--you can find the help you need from several national and international ministries. Here's an overview of three U.S.-based hunger relief organizations:

World Relief: This international relief arm of the National Association of Evangelicals emphasizes working through local churches, making it a good starting point for establishing a food distribution program in a particular congregation. The ministry offers a wealth of resources to help you get started, including videos, curriculum materials (for adults and children), special events highlighting the problem of hunger and customized project proposals. Contact the church relations staff at (630) 665-0235, or visit www.worldrelief.org and click on Church Relations to find a representative in your area of the country.

Feed the Hungry: Established in 1987 by Lester Sumrall, LeSEA Global Feed the Hungry also partners with local congregations, sending food, medical supplies and missions teams to Latin America aboard two ships that sail out of Jacksonville, Florida. Domestically the ministry, which also maintains 13 overseas offices, delivers truckloads of food to the poor and hungry across the United States, relying on local churches to help with distribution. An example of such partnering success is Bread of Life Church in Houston, which now feeds more than 9,000 people each month with the help of Feed the Hungry. For more information call (219) 291-3292 or visit www.feedthehungry.org.

Feed the Children: Here's another example of networking success. Feed the Children, founded by Larry Jones, distributes millions of pounds of food and supplies each year through 6,300 partner organizations, which in turn work with 50,000 local churches and groups that minister to the hungry. About 67 percent of the product is distributed domestically, with the rest sent to some 75 foreign countries. A ministry goal is to help families learn to stop relying on relief assistance by becoming productive and self-sufficient. Call (800) 627-4556 or visit www.christianity.com/feedthechildren for more information.

For further information on Harvest Time International--John and Mary Murphy's ministry--call (407) 328-9900 or write HTI, 131 Maritime Drive, Sanford, Florida 32771.

Marcia Ford is a freelance editor and writer who lives in DeBary, Florida. She is a former news editor for Ministry Today.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Explorers require significant input.

    How to Receive Clarity When Torn Between Choices

    Decision making is risky without guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • Lyndon Johnson

    63-Year-Old Law Still 'Threatens' Churches, Pastors

    Read why this law is so dangerous to the kingdom culture.

  • A new path is opening now.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Opening Doors for Kingdom-Minded Businesses

    Find out how to activate this prophetic word of increase in your company.

  • Do you have the proper training to be a soldier in God's army?

    The Training You Need as a Soldier in God's Army

    We are in already in a war. Let us enter the fight as fully trained soldiers with the full armor ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Local congregations are called to become Christ-like in their methodology, mission and essence.

    10 Traits of the Jesus-Driven Church

    If we attempt to walk in these, we will leave a powerful imprint on the world around us.

  • Greeter ministry

    5 Common Greeter Mistakes to Correct in the New Year

    Like those involved in any other ministry, greeters can get in a rut.

  • Saddleback Church

    One Clear-Cut Sign Your Church Is Mature and Healthy

    A church's health is measured by its obedience to this important mandate, not by its seating ...

  • Evangelist John Burton

    What My Third Church Plant Might Look Like

    Here are some things Evangelist John Burton might change if he decided to start another church.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders