FORT MYERS, Fla.—While US churches have temporarily shut their doors to help slow the spread of COVID-19, their food pantries remain open.
In Fort Myers, Florida, Daniels Road Baptist Church has moved its food pantry ministry, called Soul Food, to curbside pickup, rather than having recipients enter the church building. Every Friday—the food pantry’s normal day of operation—a small crew of volunteers carry bags of groceries to cars waiting at the church’s curb. The food and supplies come from donations of funds and goods by church members and two food banks. For now, a fewer number of volunteers serve at the food pantry in order to maintain social distancing.
God tells us in His Word to love our neighbors as ourselves, Pastor Michael Banks points out in his online Bible study March 18. Giving food and household supplies to people who need them, especially families who have children home from school, and offering to shop for those who shouldn’t leave their homes are great ways to love one’s neighbors. “Prepare them for the fact that you might not be able to find what they need,” Banks says, “but you can at least try to help them out. . . . Just leave the groceries at the door, knock on the door, go get in your car, and make sure they get their things.”
In closing his online Bible study, he offers two thoughts to help us all love our neighbors. First, “be kind, especially to those people who are working in grocery stores.” Empty shelves are not the fault of people stocking those shelves or working at the checkout counter. These workers, he says, are “doing the best they can.” Second, share. “Hoarding is really born out of selfishness,” he says. If you’ve been hoarding food and household necessities, he says, now is the time to share. (“But if you’ve been hoarding Snickers candy bars or salt-and-vinegar potato chips, you can share those right here with me,” he jokes.)