“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me…” Mt 25:35 The Interfaith Pantry embodies and embraces these words of Jesus, who tells us that when we feed our brothers, we feed Him. This is an opportunity difficult to resist. The ministers in this communal endeavor come from five different faiths in Petaluma: Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, Jewish, and Catholic; they tend to this ministry every Thursday of the month, each congregation taking one of the Thursdays at Elim Lutheran Church on the corner of Baker and Stanley Streets. The food comes from a variety of sources and is a ministry in itself. Because the goal is to provide as much fresh food as possible, produce comes from the Saturday Farmer’s Market, Petaluma Bounty, Petaluma Kitchen, and local growers. Their offerings are from the vegetable garden they plant, nurture, harvest, and donate to the pantry. Items such as canned goods, rice, beans, pasta, frozen meats are purchased from the Food Bank and funded by the generous monetary donations of our parish. This ecumenical effort supports so many members of our community who are struggling with job loss and economic hardship. The blessings, however, flow from both sides of the table – those who receive, and those who give. It is a perfect formula for stewardship.
The parishioner who is head of this ministry, Stephen Collins, has been feeding the hungry for over 25 years along side of his wife, Judy Collins, who has since passed, and under their guidance and direction, volunteers set up tables, bag groceries, and share the bounty. We are so grateful to all involved in this ministry, especially Stephen Collins. If you would like to join him, you will be heartily welcomed! He can be reached at 763-8569.