DES MOINES, Iowa—As a means of ministering to its community, Pastor Nathan Gast and Urbandale Baptist Church actively participate in the Urbandale Food Pantry. Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, the food pantry feeds approximately 2,300 people a month in the Des Moines metro area. Pastor Gast serves on the food pantry’s board of directors. Church members donate nonperishable food items for the panty, regularly collected in a grocery cart at the church. Gast explains, “The food pantry allows me opportunities in our community to meet new people and help to direct them towards resources that will help them with their physical needs. It hasn’t afforded me any spiritual opportunities yet, but it’s begun to open up a lot of conversations about Baptists and my faith with others.”
Last Fall Urbandale Baptist Church hosted the Urbandale Food Pantry Volunteer Luncheon in appreciation for the work of its volunteers. The church provided the tables, chairs, and location for the luncheon. Pastor Gast prayed for the meal and gave a welcome on behalf of the food pantry. Gast says, “Only one of the volunteers actually is associated with our church, which allowed us to host many people who had never been in our building before. It was fun, and the board of directors is looking forward to doing it again next year!”