Autumn Food Drive
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Enjoying the brisk autumn weather? There’s something about this time of year with its falling leaves and mischievous wind that energizes the spirit and stirs the appetite. Maybe it’s the looming winter, or the anticipation of Thanksgiving Day.
Inner City Mission knows all about spirit and appetite. The spirit of God is what allows us to provide roughly 30,000 meals a year to satisfy the appetites of those in our shelter working to escape homelessness. In this month’s E-News we highlight a program that has been blessing our pantry for over a decade. We also talk to Leroy, a resident who is bringing some spice to the ICM kitchen while creating stronger bonds with his children.
Thank You Springfield Christian School
Have you ever picked an item off your pantry shelf and discovered an expiration date from several years back? Imagine the waste and inefficiency that could develop in a pantry the size of a bedroom! Clearly, good stewardship of a food-related ministry requires organization.
The Inner City Mission pantry is inspected regularly to keep it up to date. In addition, every autumn we do a complete overhaul. Items that are good but haven’t been used are passed on to the Salvation Army for immediate use, and we restock with items brought in by the annual Springfield Christian School Food Drive.
Teresa Wolters, a fifth grade teacher at SCS, has been assisting with the food drive for nearly fifteen years. She explains how the operation works:
“Our fifth grade students are at the forefront. They make flyers and pass them out at the school. We make stickers, add it onto our website, and do an all-call to the parents of every grade. The fifth graders also go out into the neighborhood and leave flyers. They go back later and collect food from households.
A semi-trailer is dropped off on our lot on a Sunday, and it sits there all week gathering donations. When Friday comes, the truck is driven to Inner City Mission, and the kids fill the pantry.
“We have 32 fifth graders who worked on the collections this year,” Wolters says. “Our school is doing ‘B the C’ this week, where we encourage children to go out and be like Christ. We want them to recognize the needs around them, maybe learn what their gifts are. Some of the kids will continue to work with the homeless in the future.
“It’s nice to see the kids step out of their world and into someone else’s. Our fifth graders alone brought in a thousand items. From the entire school it was over 2000, along with cash and grocery store gift cards.”
Most of the children from both fifth grade classes followed the semi-trailer to Inner City Mission on Friday, October 10 to haul in and organize this year’s gift of food and paper goods.. Some of the excited classmates formed a human chain to pass the food into the basement pantry. Others ran paper goods back to the storage shed where those are kept. Later, they toured the facility and learned a little about the ministry of ICM.
Trucking services for this operation are donated by R & L Carriers.
Enjoy the pictures from this year’s event!
A Spiritual Gift
Many years of drugs, alcohol, and poor choices left Leroy and his wife in dire straits last year, and their children in DCFS mandated foster care. Last October the couple came to ICM determined to get their children back and straighten out their lives. Later, Leroy’s challenge became even greater when his wife chose to move away and separate from the family.
We pray to see God work in that marriage. In the meantime, we rejoice at the progress Leroy has made in finding stability for himself and his kids. All four of Leroy’s children are with him now at Inner City Mission, and the family is working toward a stable future.
Leroy credits his turnaround to God, and the support of both ICM and Williamsville Christian Church, where they are a member family. “If I didn’t have people to talk to I would go out of my mind,” Leroy says. “It’s a blessing to be at ICM because these people have been through the same kinds of experiences. I may be frustrated, and they know the best thing to say so I realize it’s not as bad as it seems.”
Leroy is also helping to bless ICM while he is with us. He knows how to cook and manage a kitchen.
“I learned to cook in the military, when I had KP duty,” Leroy says. “Watching the huge volume of food that came in, and what went into preparing it, just caught my interest.
“I got out of the Army in 1995. I tried lots of jobs. I ended up at a restaurant working myself up from dishwasher to cook.
“Cooking is an expression of yourself. There’s so much you can do to show what you know and put it onto the plates. Everyone here likes it when it’s my turn to cook, because they will get a good meal.”
Leroy left a cooking job to focus on his children when they joined him at ICM. When those relationships are fully restored and the family stabilized, he will look for employment again. In the meantime, he’s keeping his hand in by helping manage the ICM kitchen.
Inner City Mission requires residents to take turns preparing evening meals and cleaning the kitchen. These are skills we want them to have when they leave us. For those without experience, this can be daunting. Leroy is there to help with meal planning and to offer instruction.
“It keeps me on my toes,” he says. “Not only do I have my time to cook, but I help other people learn how to really cook—not just warm stuff up in the microwave. It’s not a hard thing. I tell them, ‘If you need help, ask me.’
“I would like to eventually manage or even own a restaurant. Helping out here like this is a stepping stone.”
Body of Christ
We want to be sure to acknowledge all the Inner City Mission supporters who help keep food on the table in a variety of ways, including financial contributions, food donations to the pantry, dropping off fresh produce, meat, and milk…. Often a ministry team or mission group will cook here in our kitchen and enjoy fellowship with our residents over a good meal. We hope to feature some of these supporters in upcoming editions of Inner City Mission E-News.
- Lake Springfield Christian Assembly has donated 5 complete bunk beds with mattresses to outfit resident rooms. Thank you!
- Iverson and Autumn are two of our primary school students who made the honor role this semester.
- We praise God for helping Christy got a job at grocery store and Tiesha get a job in food service. In addition, Ebony was promoted to a management position in fast food.
- Resident Donna B. needs uplifted after losing a family member.
- Resident Shirley is 7 months pregnant. We pray a blessing over this pregnancy, mother and child.
- Gail continues to battle with mobility and health. Join us in prayer that the barriers to medical treatment will fall away.
- We want to pray for those who come to Inner City Mission but walk away without finding peace or transformation. We know God will continue to ask to be let into their lives.
- Stability Coach Cara is mourning the loss of her much-loved father until they are reunited in Heaven. We pray she is consoled in this.
Winter is coming! Here are some donations we know will come in handy:
- Coats, hats, gloves for both genders, children and adult
- Facial tissue
- Cold and Flu medicine
- A couple digital thermometers
- Hand sanitizer and wipes
ICM gratefully accepts donated items any time at our North 7th Street shelter.